Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.


Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Education Trust Grant For Improving Nature Trail

Ligonier Township Recreation Board received one of the 2011 Ligonier Valley Education Trust Grants at a reception on April 19 at the Ligonier Valley High School. The Trust is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County. Their mission is to provide support for a broad range of educational and enrichment activities for residents in all communities of the Ligonier Valley.

Our grant will bring back the educational signs and trail markers to the existing Nature Trail on the Ligonier Township Municipal Complex property at One Municipal Park Road, off Rt.711 in Ligonier.

The Nature Trail was built in 2002, when the township moved its offices to the current property. The signs and educational information for the original signs were developed for an Eagle Scout project. Neglect and the abuse of time and weather have destroyed most of these markers. The graphics are very well done, and the Recreation Board has suggested redoing this project and renovating the area in the past. This small grant will give us the jump start we need to put this renovation in motion.

These nineteen individual markers will be combined into a large trail map that will be put under Lexan (a clear polycarbonate sheet) on a kiosk, at the entrance of the trail adjoining the parking area. From here, small maps will be available to follow the trail and find the plants as they come into season. Small, numbered markers will be used along the trail to help locate individual plants. A downloadable map and educational materials will be made available on the Township web site for leaders, parents and walkers to prepare for walks ahead of time.

The youngest children to the oldest adults will be able to learn from finding the markers on the trail. The physical activity will be part of the experience, and other discoveries of their own will be found along the way. This is an area with wildlife, a small stream and wetlands. Fun facts will be on the maps that hikers can match to their stops. Activities can be expanded on by teachers and parents.

In time, the Nature Trail is planned to be the north most trail head for the Ligonier Valley Trail and Bikeway. We think this combination of outdoor nature activities and physical fitness through walking and biking will provide years of learning and enjoyment for all ages.

We appreciate the Trust giving us and others the opportunity to better serve our community by completing projects that will enhance the educational experience of all students, residents and visitors in Ligonier.

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