Path from South Carroll High School to the...

THE TREE-LINED

June 07, 1996

THE TREE-LINED path from South Carroll High School to the 300 acres of wetlands sanctuary in back leads hundreds of students each year to a new understanding of science and nature.

Last week, senior Charles Rachel was finally able to travel that trail of knowledge, with the completion of a wheelchair-accessible bridge and path.

His three classmates who designed and directed construction of the new pathway learned a lot about environmental engineering and human understanding. So did the 120 students in South Carroll science research classes who built the project, with 400 hours of hauling gravel, digging trenches and nailing boards.

The compacted gravel path and the remodeled wooden footbridge, with bumper guards along the sides to keep wheelchairs from going over the edge, were the ideas of Kate Barrow, Bobby Larrimore and Mike Shay. They brought it to fruition with vision, hard work and creative grant proposals that garnered $1,500 for materials to construct the trail.

The project is not unusual for the science classes of Robert Foor-Hogue, who has won national recognition for his students' ambitious research goals and successful fund-raising efforts to implement their ideas.

But it is an encouraging example of the growing awareness of the needs of the disabled -- and a valuable lesson for life.

Another Carroll County project to expand outdoor experiences for the handicapped is being rebuilt this year, after severe damage from last winter's snow and flooding. Volunteers from Trout Unlimited and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are replacing the 80-foot-long wheelchair-accessible fly fishing pier on Morgan Run, near Gamber.

The state's first fishing site with access for the disabled, the Morgan Run pier opened last fall after being constructed over the summer by volunteers with $20,000 of materials donated by county businesses.

The South Carroll nature trail and the Gamber fishing pier are, in the words of disabled fly fisherman Art Nierenberg, "an invitation those who don't believe they can still come out and enjoy nature." Both projects deserve recognition for striving to extend that invitation beyond earlier limits.

Pub Date: 6/07/96

Access to nature; Students expand learning with wheelchair-accessable path to wetlands.

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