HAVILAND — Motorists driving recently along US-54 highway near Haviland may have noticed a new 14-foot-tall statue in the shape of a mammoth. The metal statue was created by Paul Miller with the assistance of his son, Andre, and Haviland resident Ed Lofgren to advertise the Heart of America Science Resource Center located there.


"There were a lot of technical details along the way that no one could have anticipated," said Paul Miller. "This was a mammoth of a task, you might say, and it can now attract people to our resource center."


Miller said the Heart of America Science Resource Center strives to provide a Bible-based science education through workshops, field trips, seminars, hands-on laboratory activities, a museum and, eventually, a themed playground.


The statue along the highway was constructed from ¼-inch steel and will help the resource center get the word out about the large collection of fossils, artifacts and information housed in the museum.


Hardinger Construction brought its crew and a crane to get the statue upright and mounted on the base for Miller. There are plans to build a planter box around the statue in the future to make it look like the mammoth is roaming the plains of Kansas in prehistoric times.


The museum started as a project for Linda Simmons, a Barclay College student. Simmons needed to create a mock business as one of the last steps for her degree and graduation. After consulting with her husband, Jerry, the two decided that this was something they wanted to pursue. After much preparation, a board was created and nonprofit status was obtained. Since then, the board has worked diligently to bring a unique educational experience to southwest Kansas and beyond.


The Heart of America museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday. Many new things are coming to the resource center, including an 8-by-41-foot mural and new exhibits.


For more information, visit www.hoasrc.com or Heart of America Science Resource Center on Facebook.