Instead of hitting the books, some St. Martin Junior High School students hit the trail to learn about nature. The "Yellow Jacket Interpretive Trail" is located right on campus. It's a mile-long walk that winds through Bayhead Swamp.
This outdoor classroom provides the ideal place to get up-close to plants and wildlife. Teacher Pamela Rosetti says it's the perfect habitat, because the trail is part of a wetlands, known as a wet pine savannah. She says it's an excellent place to come out and study nature.
For the Environmental Science students, this is their first time seeing the nature trail since it was built last year. Jonathan Webb says he thinks the trail is better than all the other ones he's seen. He likes the open space, and he gets to get his feet dirty. Heather Joubert says she learned that when it rains, the bottom lands get flooded, and that's something she didn't know before.
The trail ends just a few feet away from another section of Bayhead Swamp. So, the next step is to build a bridge that will cross over the swamp. Plans are also in the works to build a second nature trail to help enhance learning.
Assistant Principal Michael Van Winkle is one of the project leaders. He says students will be able to come out and touch the plants, feel the leaves and be able to identify plants. That's something they couldn't do just from a book. Educators hope being in the great outdoors will help students learn, appreciate and take better care of the environment.
St. Martin Junior High and St. Martin High School students worked together to build the nature trail. Federal and school funds, as well as a grant from Chevron and 4-H, helped pay for the project.