We have been working for the past few years to develop a nature trail on our property. The actual trail, situated on the southeast corner of our property, extends to the border of the properties that are on Gram’sWay. The trail existed long before Bethel Springs was built - as part of a camp. It includes a meadow area, a wooded area, and both established and intermittent streams. We have simply taken it as our mission to develop this trail as a resource to involve our students and the community in valuable learning related to nature, ecology and the environment.
The BSES Nature Trail Committee was formed in July 2007 to expand these efforts and to increase awareness of our trail.
Members of Boy Scout Pack #191 made several trail improvements for their Eagle Scout projects. They worked to install a pipe in the culvert under the path near the meadow to facilitate passage along the trail. Boy scouts created a bridge over the established stream. They also constructed two outdoor classrooms and a stream-side platform for observation and stream activity completion. The stone foundation of an original camp structure existing on the property was preserved and converted into the seating for one of the outdoor classrooms. These initial improvements along the trail were made possible by funding provided by Colonial Pipeline.
Educational activities related to Pennsylvania Science Standards were developed under the leadership of Mrs. Karen Ferrari, our district Science Curriculum Supervisor. These activities were designed to be part of an annual Earth Week Celebration, but can be and have been used by teachers at various points during the school year. These activities have been enthusiastically received by students and teachers alike!
In 2008 the Nature Trail Committee received a grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection to complete improvements on the trail and to create educational stations for use by the district as well as the community. Directional posts were installed along the trail. Large informational signs were installed as were plant identification signs. Posts marking the location of educational activities were also installed and a corresponding trail brochure with a listing of activities was created. Native plants were planted along the trail. As part of the grant the Pennnsylvania Resources Council created addtional lesson plans for elementary teachers to use with students on the trail.
In 2010 the trail received recognition as being one of thirty exemplary outdoor classroom resource areas in the state. Community volunteers also completed two major trail improvements. The culvert area near the meadow was regraded and shored up to improve water conditions on the trail there. A large platform was also built next to a wetlands area of the trail to promote wetlands study.
Peggy Courtney (Lead)
Special thanks and acknowledgement to:
Boy Scout Pack 191 Members: SPONSORS
Andrew Zellis Colonial Pipeline
Kyle Trebilcock Singles Design
Dan Quaintance Forever Green