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All about town

Cowtown history according to Diggy Armadillo

All about town

Cowtown history according to Diggy Armadillo

He’s 18 inches long, burrows in the dirt and has an insatiable appetite for getting his snout into everything Fort Worth. But for 12 years, Diggy Armadillo has been the perfect local to teach the region’s history to the young people of Cowtown.

Star of an educational adventure series created by Ann Barham Pugh ’45 and Joan Freed Anderson ’85, Diggy’s spunky curiosity takes him and his friends to the Stock Show & Rodeo, the Fort Worth Zoo and the historic Stockyards to learn tidbits of city folklore and history. As he rambles about, he also learns songs and geography.

Pugh, an accomplished children’s author, wanted to develop a character to investigate local history. She teamed with Anderson, another children’s author, and along came Diggy in 1990 .

“We felt an armadillo was the perfect animal because they’re always getting into things — just like Diggy does with history,” Pugh said. The series is now mandatory reading for third-graders in the Fort Worth school district and is being published in Spanish for the first time, as well as moving to a tabloid newspaper format. Teachers receive a Diggy curriculum guide, written by Pugh, plus audio cassettes of the song “Texas, Texas, What shape are you?” and poems, all narrated by the late theater great Melvin Dacus ’44.

Other Horned Frog alums who ensure Diggy gets wide exposure include: Kelly Kimmel DeGarmo ’85, who coordinates the Star-Telegram’s Newspaper in Education program; Joyce Johnson ’79, who contributes to the curriculum guide; Judy Satterwhite ’70, who manages special projects with Fort Worth ISD.