The AIE program offers sled dogs

DARKE COUNTY — The Arts In Education Series at the Darke County Center for the Arts presented something completely different to fourth through sixth graders across the county from October 24-28. DCCA brought back former teacher and current musher Tasha Stielstra with her sled dogs to present the “Pulling Together” interactive program, centered on the values ​​of teamwork and being caring and responsible citizens. “DCCA is very excited to bring Tasha and her company back to our community; his previous residency here is still fondly remembered by educators and students alike,” said DCCA Artistic Director David Warner.

Tasha and her husband Ed own Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Racing and Adventures in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; Ed has competed in the Iditarod eight times, placing in the top 25 multiple times. The husband and wife team has received numerous humanitarian awards for their exceptional dog care. Tasha runs the touring and outfitting portion of the business and travels around the county as a popular educator and speaker. However, when Tasha visited the community a few years ago, her accompanying sled dog was the hit of her presentation. “Students and educators are thrilled and surprised at the positive traits exhibited by the animals, which are generally not huskies and do not look like what one would expect of a sled dog,” explained the executive director of the DCCA, Andrea Jordan.

DCCA’s Arts in Education program annually features artists performing for students of all grades in each local school district. DCCA’s Arts In Education Series Sponsors are Park National Bank, Bach to Rock, Greenville Federal, Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe, Darke County Foundation, Edison State Community College, Jordan Insurance Agency, Gordon & DeSantis Orthodontics, Family Health, Greenville Rotary, the John R. and Miriam H. Knick Fund of the Darke County Foundation, Ami McClurkin Fund of the Darke County Foundation, Ketrow Foundation, Lydia E. Schaurer Memorial Trust and Harry D. Stephens Memorial. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund this program with state taxpayer dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. These commitments are also supported by schools and the Darke County Endowment for the Arts, an organization that strives to keep the arts alive forever in our community; Additionally, DCCA membership fees support all of the organization’s programming.

The DCCA performance schedule for Arts In Education programs is organized in cooperation with schools; for more information, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or online at

Bette C. Alvarado