When the next school year starts, students at Battleground Elementary School will have a classroom in the middle of nature waiting for them.
An Eagle Scout troop has cleared away a trail for the students behind their school, and Eagle Scout Mitchell Robinson has built an observation deck for the students.
Donald Welch, who was the assistant principal of Battleground, suggested the project to the troop.
â€œWe had that space back there, and I just wanted to do something for the kids,â€ said Welch.
The forest behind the school has had benches for a number of years, but the area was overgrown.
The scouts cleared the outdoor classroom and developed a trail, which was not an easy task.
â€œWe lifted up huge logs,â€ said Donald Welch, assistant principal of Battleground Elementary. â€œIt took four to five of us to move some of them.â€
A natural entryway into the forest was used, and after that the scouts tried to make the trail as long as possible.
â€œWe used all the space we had,â€ said Welch. â€œWe donâ€™t have a lot back there.â€
After developing a meandering trail, the boys took axes, rakes and weed killer to the path to make it fit for students to walk on.
The scouts succeeded in ridding the trail of trees, logs and poison ivy. They then spread mulch to complete that part of the project.
â€œIt got done,â€ said Bobby Woods, assistant scout master of Eagle Scout Troop 79. â€œThatâ€™s the good thing about teen-aged boys, they really have an unlimited amount of energy once you get them motivated and put it to use.â€
Along with a nature trail, the site now has an observation deck which looks down on a clearing of trees.
Robinson and his father worked on the observation deck together. Many of the materials used were donated from Battlegroundâ€™s sponsor, Loweâ€™s Hardware Store.
The observation deck, or bird blind, has walls on three sides and holes big enough for little eyes to look out in the woods.
â€œThe blind hides the children, and theyâ€™re able to sit in the animal habitat and observe,â€ said Welch.
Birds and squirrels will be encouraged to come to that area once a cub scout pack is finished with their end of the project.
Pack 74, which includes Battleground students, will create feeders to put in the area.
â€œItâ€™s a perfect connection,â€ said Brian Hissom, the pack director. â€œIt will give the guys a place to put some of their projects for the good use of the community.â€
The boys will also be spending time keeping the trail clear of weeds and sticks.
â€œAnytime the cub scouts can help the school where the boys attend, itâ€™s a great thing,â€ said Hissom. by Sarah Grano