In the last week, Cub Scout Pack 582 of
Farm Life School set about to earn their
World Conservation Badges by laboring to
improve the school nature trail.
It began with a tour of the trail at their
Monday night meeting to evaluate the
existing needs on the trail. The meeting
started with the flag raising. The flag
would be at half staff in memory of recent
bombing victims in Boston.
The scouts and leaders identified several
possible projects with the input of Mr. Loyd (me).
Perhaps the most challenging of all was to
try to straighten "Old Man Poplar." Oh well.
What a fine looking bunch of young men.
By the end of the evening they were pumped by
about working on the trail the following Saturday.
On Saturday, one project was to replace wood
chips that recent downpours had washed away.
For safety reasons, only adults helped
load these concrete and iron fence poles
that had been dumped in the woods years
earlier. Later, they would be taken to the landfill.
One of the dads is a civil engineer.
He helped design a makeshift dam
to slow the flow of rain water over
one of our problem areas.
A real plus of this project is that
we utilized old brick and concrete
rubble that had been dumped on
the trail decades ago, perhaps when
an existing building was demolished.
Through steady work by many
willing hands, our retaining wall
took shape. Using existing materials
in a productive way will serve as a
constant reminder of the environmentally
sound practicere-using rather
than adding to the landfill.
During a well-earned break the
scouts crossed the stream and posed
on Big Rock. This was a reward for
showing up on the work day, because
typically school groups don't get this
opportunity-- too much risk of falling in!
This log and the sandbar were
our crossing point. The log is
not very reliable-- it's the last
remnant of a mammoth tree that
fell two decades ago.
Back at work, the scouts manned
several hedge clippers to attack the
invasive kudzu that is encroaching
on the trail.
The trail looks as good as new
with wood chips raked back in place.
Here's a pile of kudzu vines
that were wrestled down and
piled near the trail. This is a
major defeat for the evil kudzu,
but it will be back!
Here are some of the faithful
laborers as our work time drew
to an end. Several others had
served for at least part of the morning,
but family plans kept us from having
all boys together at any given time.
With work done, the scouts and
families relaxed and enjoyed the
trail a little bit more. They would
have a picnic lunch at the adjacent
A huge "Thank You" goes
out to all the scouts, leaders,
and parents who gave up their
Saturday for this project. I have
conferred the title of "Keepers of
the Nature Trail" upon every scout
who contributed to the effort. They
are quite deserving of the World
Conservation Badge and I hope they
achieve this goal.
Now is a wonderful time to enjoy
the trail with your own family. Here
are some things you can expect to see.
(Red Maple is also on the trail)
|Netted Chain Fern|
(near the stream)
(newly discovered patch near
the trail's beginning)
|Green and Gold, a wildflower|
|Sweetgum, a tree|
|Seed balls of a sweetgum tree|
These are commonplace on our trail.
Your trail is open for business.
Stop by anytime, and bring a
friend or your whole family.
More improvements are in the
works for the coming year.