Building bridges

Building bridges

…and other trail projects at GSB school

“Do we get to use power tools today?”

This is a typical greeting from 8th graders at Great Salt Bay (GSB) School when Education Assistant Angela DesVeaux arrives on Wednesday mornings.

The students are those who have chosen to spend their study hall maintaining and improving the network of trails behind the school. Since November, for one hour every Wednesday morning, they troop outdoors with Coastal Rivers staff and volunteers to work on the project of the day.

GSB student uses a cordless drill on the trail bridge

A GSB student uses a cordless drill to assemble the new trail bridge

Along with GSB Guidance Counselor Jill Davis and Agricultural Coordinator Hedda Scribner, the students plan and execute their own projects with Angela and Education Director Sarah Gladu, who teaches on alternate weeks. Sometimes power tools are involved, such as when Stewardship Director Brad Weigel and volunteer Bob Barkalow joined the crew recently to help them assemble trail bridges. On other days, they might remove invasive Asiatic bittersweet vines, or work on preparing an area for a woodland garden.

If weather conditions aren’t favorable for a work day, the group may choose to simply go for a walk or go snowshoeing on the trails.

The students’ overarching goal is to make the trails accessible and user-friendly to as many students, families, and staff as possible. To that end, their future plans include creating a map of the trail system, developing trail names, doing more trail maintenance and removal of invasive plants, and building more bridges, plus some benches and bird houses – preferably using power tools.

This project is one of many nature education programs we provide free of charge to GSB and other AOS 93 schools. In January, 3rd graders spent a day at Coastal Rivers Salt Bay Farm learning about how animals adapt to winter conditions. Later this month, the kindergarten classes will join our educators to go snowshoeing, build snow shelters, and learn about kindergarten-level physics through fun pushing and pulling activities.

For more about school group programs this winter, see our January 18 story.

GSB students and staff pose with Coastal Rivers staff and volunteers on the trail