Finally the snow banks have melted in the woods behind the school! We knew it was time to go out and check the condition of our trail. Four of us, Brandon, Max, Joselyn, and Logan, decided to trek out and take some photos of what we found.
As we ventured out, we came across a number of interesting things that revealed to us lots about our trail. First, there was scat everywhere! We can tell the deer were running around here a lot during the winter and early spring. Next, we found a deer carcass that was in the middle of our path. We are concerned about the effect of the rotting carcass on the stream. We are glad that animals in the woods, such as ravens, coyotes, and foxes, have food from it; however, it will take a while to biodegrade, and it is right in the center of our nature education area. Lastly, we noticed that the stream, Valley Brook, looks like a small river because all the rain we got from the latest rain storm. The river was very high and looked like it was even going over some of the banks!
Although we are just getting the opportunity to check out our trail, we have continued to make progress on our project over the past month. With the support of the Natural Resource Council of Maine, we have purchased the cedar posts which will hold our educational panels/placards. We also bought two ten foot posts, square, from a local fence supplier. We recently just cut them into eight-foot segments.
We have further conducted research about watersheds, and in particular, our local watershed in Strong. We also have research about invasive species and those that may be present along out train. We will use this research to create our plaques. We got all of the middle school students involved in researching watersheds!
As we progress throughout our project the next step is to put in gravel or mulch on the trail, which we plan to make it organic so the wild animals don’t get sick. We are looking forward to finishing our project and getting to see the incredible final result!
—Wendy Morrill, English and Social Studies Teacher, Strong Elementary School