Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | News | Local News | Contact Us | Home RSS

EYE ON EDUCATION: New trails at LPES for a new generation

June 8, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - The Lake Placid Elementary School has a system of trails on the grounds that are two-fold - the paths are not only a space for recreation but work as a place for education as well.

However, in the past, the trails weren't utilized for more than few mountain biking and snowshoeing lessons in gym class and one time when the school conducted a Christmas-themed scavenger hunt, according to DeAnna Brown, a school counselor at LPES.

"Before this project, we weren't using it much," she said.

Article Photos

Lake Placid Elementary School Principal Sonja Franklin (left) and school counselor DeAnna Brown walk the newly renovated nature trail on the school’s grounds Wednesday, June 6 with Franklin’s dog Ries. The new trail system is three-times larger than the old one, has mixed terrain for mountain biking and snowshoeing and will offer new ways to incorporate outdoor education. A group of volunteers made up of students, faculty, parents and members of the Barkeater Trails Alliance met Saturday, June 2 and began reshaping the trails.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

On Saturday, June 2, students, faculty, parents and members of the Barkeater Trails Alliance - a volunteer trail maintenance crew - met at LPES and reconstructed the school's system of nature trails.

"We have a beautiful piece of property at our school that we're trying to better utilize," Brown said. "We're trying to create spaces for teaching and learning in a variety of ways."

Brown said the previous trail was a short loop, but the revamped version is three-times as long with mixed terrain.

On the recreation front, Brown said the school added a bridge in one area and reshaped parts of the trail to better suit cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

A parent volunteer came through on a miniature excavator a couple of weeks earlier, so most of the rough work was done, according to Brown. On June 2, volunteers used rakes, shovels and sheers to cut routes, move rocks and create a flatter surface for the trails. Most of the tools and planning were provided by BETA, specifically members Josh Wilson and Jeff Erenstone.

"We could not have done this project without their help and collaboration," Brown said. "[BETA] has been terrific to work with and really helped provide guidance."

Though the school has never partnered with BETA in the past, Brown has done work with them personally.

"I love it," she said. "I love working on trails. I think an important piece of using trails is to also be part of creating and maintaining them. We're so lucky in the Adirondacks to have a really incredible network of trails for hiking and mountain biking and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing."

For education, Brown said the school is hoping to build amphitheater-like areas with benches along the trail - places where teachers can bring a class and conduct a lesson.

The school property is bordered by a wetland, a natural feature the school hopes to incorporate into its science classes.

In the winter of 2017, a group of fourth graders applied for grants with the Educational Opportunity Fund for the Lake Placid Central School District, which funded a series of informational signs to go on the trails, as well as on the school's sports fields and at the chicken coop. All the signs were designed by the students with the help of integrated marketing agency Adworkshop

Jordan Deforest, Gabe Sawyer, Brooke Meyer, Teegan Wardlaw, Sophie Spanberg and Charlie Wilson represented the fourth grade and raised $1,000 for signage on the campus grounds with the help of their reading and writing teacher, Greg Fisher.

The weather-resistant signs similar to those found in museums and at popular landmarks will explain the rules of popular games the students play at recess and highlight interesting facts about nature and wildlife.

"It's nice for people to learn even when they're outside," Meyer said. "It's not just to go outside and play around. It's educational."

Fisher said the signs are a great project because students now and in the future will benefit from them.

"Even when these guys move on from fourth grade, it'll still be here for other kids to use," Fisher said.

Brown said education doesn't just mean academic classes in the traditional sense. The new trails are also a way to cater to students with physical disabilities.

"Our occupational therapist, for example," she said, "is excited to bring students out and is helping to design it in a way that it's accessible for everybody. It will benefit students who don't have the best motor development. That's part of having a flatter surface, you know, it makes it safer and more accessible for all abilities."

There's still some work to be done in terms of setting up the teaching areas, but Brown said June 2 was an amazing start to the new trail project.

"Our volunteer work day could not have gone any better," she wrote in an email to the News. "We had a great turnout of 16 students from grades K-6 and 19 adults, all of whom took great pride in their hard work and what we were able to accomplish together. The best part is seeing the pride on students' faces as they describe working together to help create each section of the trail. Their participation is a key part of teaching children to be stewards of the land and to appreciate the hard work that goes into building and maintaining the many trails in our area."



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web