By Jenee Gregor
The first semester new manicured trails are opened to the students who can use them to get a taste of nature while still on the campus. These two miles of trails are meant to be open to all students, and are now a part of the biology classes.
This is the first semester that it has become part of the biology classes, where students must walk the trail and answer questions that are answered along the way.
What used to be primitive trails has become a widen and manicured path with guiding signs about the nature around them. The original trails were sculpted by Ross Strayer, biology faculty and instructor and his father Jim Strayer as informal trails with faculty and parents help.
David Wooten, full-time faculty in Biology headed up the project of making new signs and helping with the redesign of curriculum to incorporate them into the biology, zoology and botany classes.
“I created, designed and wrote the signs,” said Wooten. “We now have almost 2 miles of trails with a trail head sign and nine interpretive signs.”
A WCC alumna, Adrianne Chissus, drew the map for the trail head sign before she transferred to Cornell University, leaving a special mark on the campus, mentioned Wooten.
The trail head begins near the pond outside the GM building, there are hopes that the ponds and other areas usefulness will only be extended in the future.
These areas have a future with plans of an observation platform for hydrology studies for other classes, mentioned David Wooten.
“There are two ponds on the trail that were dug recently as drainage ponds and over the years have grown into looking like ponds,” said Strayer.
These were originally primitive trails, that left nature just as it was, but with a newly widened path, the trails seem more comfortable, mentioned Strayer.
Having nature as a classroom helps to protect the area as well. The more that it is used by students the less likely there will be ideas to develop that wooded area, mentioned Strayer.
The school and Department Chair Anne Hiese has been very supportive, mentioned Wooten.
“The trails makes the wildlife available to everyone,” said Hiese. “It’s an awesome project that was funded by the Crane grant.”
“The more people know it is here, the more they will want to protect it,” said Hiese.