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From Students to Stewards: A New School Trail Completed

Behind the Dexter Park School in Orange lies a hidden natural space. The woods contain a small trail, filled with flora and fauna of all sorts, that has the distinct feeling of being apart from civilization though the school sits not far away. This small trail, around a third of a mile in length, had fallen into disuse by teachers and students alike until the opportunity arose to repurpose it.

Over the past few years, previous TerraCorps members worked directly with the school to clean up and reroute the trail entirely onto the school property. Youth and teachers gathered in the spring of 2021 ready to clear brush, paint trail markers, mark paths, and ultimately create an entirely new trail. These students also spent the year learning about the local wildlife that could be found in their woods. They chose their favorites to highlight in informational signage using their own artwork and research. Thanks to a MA Department of Conservation and Recreation Trails grant, this artwork is now on display for all to see in the form of educational books based on four main topics: plants, insects, vertebrates, and conservation.

There will be a dedication event on Earth Day 2022 where the community will be able to explore the trail and view all the hard work these students have completed. Stay tuned for updates!

Three generations of TerraCorps Youth Education Coordinators have participated in this project, engaging nearly 200 students. Though the trail work itself is complete, the impacts will last far longer.