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Home / News and Information / News - May 2006 / Multi-purpose nature trail bring constructed on BPC campus

Multi-purpose nature trail being constructed on BPC campus

“Outdoor laboratory” slated for completion this fall

Taylor Hereford
BPC Director of Marketing

One of the many views along the new Brewton-Parker College Nature Trail. (Photo by Dr. Jon Shuman)

It has been the hope of faculty members of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Brewton-Parker College to have an “outdoor laboratory” on campus so students will have the chance to get out of the classroom and experience hands-on learning as they walk among the different species of plants in which they are studying.

Led by Dr. David McMillin, chair of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, funding has been secured to complete the construction of a multi-purpose nature trail which will enhance not only the educational experience of Brewton-Parker College students but also their younger counterparts in the Montgomery County School System. Previously, funds were also obtained by the Division for the initial start of the trail at the suggestion of Ann Calhoun, assistant professor of Physics and Mathematics.

Beginning at Tyre Chapel – the small white chapel next to the Brewton-Parker College Historic Village – the trail will wind its way through approximately 1 ¼ miles of forest and terminate across the street from Montgomery County Elementary School.

This new trail will be much longer than its predecessor, which ended at what is now the Bartow and Jean Snooks Student Activities Center.

“The previous nature trail was also put in by the faculty in our division with assistance from volunteers in other divisions on campus years ago before I came to Brewton-Parker,” said Dr. McMillin. “On the previous trail, however, none of the plants were marked which made it difficult to conduct any type of outdoor science lab.”

The faculty began to realize the need for a longer trail which would allow for the marking of different species of plants – some of which are native to this area – thereby giving the students and faculty a fresh alternative to the everyday reading of textbooks and taking of lecture notes.

One of the many types of plants that line the new Brewton-Parker College Nature Trail. The 1 1/4 mile trail, which will be open to the public for the study of plants as well as exercise, is scheduled to be completed this fall. (Photo by Dr. Jon Shuman)

Dr. Boyd, an ecologist, marked out the trail so it would be useful for biology classes and interesting to other people walking along the trail. After he began to clear part of the trail, the faculty members of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences finished clearing the marked trail and then Dr. Shuman and Professor Calhoun lined the trail with fallen timber.

As the new trail was being marked, the workers came upon little creek beds which broke up the continuity of the trail. The only way to solve the problem of the creek beds would be to construct walking bridges at various points throughout the trail.

Now that the funding has been secured through the Brewton-Parker College Strategic Planning Executive Committee, the division is one major step closer to seeing their dream of an outdoor laboratory become a reality.

With the help of Ray Hamilton and Kenny Wickstrom from Brewton-Parker College Plant Operations, Dr. Shuman and Professor Calhoun, with help from other Division faculty, have constructed the first thirty foot walkway and have completed the first bridge.

“We anticipate the completion of the bridges and the subsequent opening of the trail to be sometime this fall,” said Dr. McMillin.

One of the first bridges to be completed on the new Brewton-Parker College Nature Trail. The trail stretches 1 1/4 miles from the Brewton-Parker College Historic Village to Montgomery County Elementary School. (Photo by Dr. Jon Shuman)

Dr. McMillin is quick to point out the positive effects of the trail ending across the street from Montgomery County Elementary School. For one, it opens the door for the teachers and students of Montgomery County to take learning to the next level by participating in nature walks. It will also allow the teachers and students to join with the Brewton-Parker College Math and Science faculty in various activities on campus.

“We believe this will only increase the awareness of different activities which we host on campus.” said Dr. McMillin. “From our rocket blasts to our math and science festivals, the possibilities for interaction with Montgomery County Schools are endless.”

Montgomery County School Superintendent Dale Clark is thrilled about the opportunities that await her students as a result of the nature trail.

“As Superintendent of Montgomery Schools, I am thankful for the relationship that we have with Brewton-Parker College,” said Mrs. Clark. “The nature trail is just another example of Brewton-Parker's willingness to share facilities and resources to enhance the education of our students. Our elementary students learn best by ‘hands on’ experiences. The nature trail provides this kind of experience for our students.”

Dr. David Smith, president of Brewton-Parker, is excited about expanding the already positive relationship between Brewton-Parker College and the Montgomery County School System.

“When Brewton-Parker College and other important Montgomery County institutions can work together, it always benefits our community,” said Dr. Smith. “BPC has a warm and close relationship with Montgomery County schools and their excellent superintendent Dale Clark.”

Dr. Smith is quick to give praise to the Math and Science faculty for their insight in developing the trail and the hard work that has already gone into the construction.

“We are grateful for the hard work of professors Ann Calhoun, Jon Shuman, Haywood Boyd and David McMillin, as well as other volunteers, who are creating this educational nature trail,” said Dr. Smith.

In addition to serving as an educational tool, the nature trail will be open to the general public during daylight hours and will function as a means of exercise for anyone wanting to walk the 1 ¼ mile path. There is also discussion of adding exercise stations throughout the trail in the future.

-BPC-

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The mission of Brewton-Parker College, a Georgia Baptist college, is to develop the whole student through the application of Biblically-centered truth to a liberal arts curriculum in a community of shared Christian values.
 
Brewton-Parker College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Brewton-Parker College.
 
Updated on: April 15, 2010 8:26 PM