Shooting for an Education

Project aims to mix marksmanship, history


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Everyone has heard of "the shot heard 'round the world."

So where was it fired? And would you be able to fire one like it?

Maybe you knew that the phrase was originally penned in reference to the opening battle of the American Revolution, when on April 19, 1775, a small band of colonists fought off a larger force of British redcoats in present-day Massachusetts.

But maybe you didn't. If that's the case, Bob Zio wants to help you learn.

"I think it's very important for folks to know about their heritage and their history," said Zio, a California man who will visit Eagle River next week for a unique look at the history of the "War for Independence. "

Zio is part of "Project Appleseed," a non profit organization whose goal is to combine Revolutionary War history with basic marksmanship principles. The group will visit Eagle River at the end of this month, when they'll hold a pair of shooting and history seminars. Both seminars – a free one for military members and their families and one for the general public – have already filled up. But the group will also hold a free public presentation at 7 p.m. on July 28 at Eagle River Grace Church.

The group's mission, Zio said, is to educate people on the historical significance and importance that good shooting skills played in helping the colonists hold off the more powerful British forces at the battles of Lexington and Concord.

"What's very unique is the heritage of our country was actually started with marksmanship," Zio said.

Students in the courses receive two days of training in basic and advanced marksmanship techniques while periodically getting history lessons from the all-volunteer members of the project.

"The training is excellent, it really is," Zio said. "It can be applied from beginning to experienced shooters across the board."

Like the other members of the project (which takes its name from American folk hero "Johnny Appleseed," who spread apple trees from coast to coast one seed at a time), Zio got involved after a seminar came to his town. Zio was so impressed, he decided to volunteer as an instructor.

"I'm just a guy that went to one of these things," he said.

Zio said the visit is the first time Project Appleseed has been in Alaska. Eagle River's Josh Holloway, who is helping organize the seminars, said he's been following the group online since it formed about six years ago.

"I've been following them since they just barely got started and always wishing they'd come to Alaska," he said.

The public seminars will be held at Birchwood Shooting Park, and cost just $70 per adult male. Women and children are significantly cheaper.

"It's a good value and a lot of fun," Holloway said.

Bob Zio said that if folks in the Chugiak/Eagle River area are enthusiastic about the program – and so far, they have been – Project Appleseed could return for future events.

"We definitely seem to have a whole lot of interest," he said.

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com

 

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.

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