Grantee: Nature Club of the Westmoreland School – Westmoreland, NH
Project Title: K-2 Nature Trail and Outdoor Classroom Area
Pictured above are before and after photographs of the wooded project area
Grant Description: This project began with Westmoreland Middle School Nature Club students wanting to spend time in the woods adjacent to their school’s playing fields. Believing that connecting with nature could be a part of their school’s educational experience, the Club decided to build a trail and outdoor education area to share with their elementary grade students.
The Captain Planet Foundation grant provided funding to purchase native plants needed for habitat improvement & restoration after the Club removed massive amounts of invasive buckthorn and multiflora rose from the project area.
A local county forester provided invaluable assistance. During his guided walks students were able to identify native tree species and flag invasive species for removal. During a lively question and answer dialogue students deepened their knowledge of the beautiful New Hampshire woods.
Planting native trees, shrubs and perennials was a new experience for many of Club members. They demonstrated their enthusiasm and responsibility by carrying water to “their” plants and tending them throughout the year. Several students reported that they intended to start their own gardens at home.
Recently completed, the nature loop trail is being used by classroom teachers and also by families in the community. The school’s physical education teacher has ordered snowshoes for the school and reports being very excited about using the trail next winter. A third-grade teacher made all of the Nature Club’s hard work worth it when she wrote…
“Yesterday I took my class out in the new snow to recite Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. What a wonderful surprise to see the trail and fantastic circle of benches that you installed. I wish I had a picture of my 15 students bundled in snow gear, sitting on benches in the woods, chanting Robert Frost. It was perfect. They were totally invested in the experience. Thank you for all your hard work. Please know that this will be visited many more times for as long as I teach here.”