Summer brings to an end an incredible school year for Union County Middle School students in North Georgia who have been immersed in learning about a famous 2,181 mile-long trail.
The Appalachian Trail, with its trailhead located nearby, was the subject of a school-wide, year-long education and outreach program called The Trail to Every Classroom. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests partnered with the school, the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to conduct the classroom project which is the ATC’s flagship student education program.
Embracing subjects such as math, science, music, art and everything in between, the Appalachian Trail was the overarching theme of the school’s program curriculum. As part of the year-long program, students created oil pastels, sculptures and origami, produced books and brochures for local visitor centers, developed multimedia projects, wrote songs, read books and articles about the trail, interviewed hikers, kept journals, solved trail-related math problems, created history timelines and wrote poetry. The school’s band even learned to perform “Appalachian Spring.”
Teachers competed for $2,181 for their classrooms by earning “white blazes” as part of the innovative strategy to involve all subject areas. The activities culminated in spring and fall hikes on the Appalachian Trail in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Andy Baker, a forest district ranger, and Taylor Hamilton, the forest’s recreation trails technician, joined the students on the trail to talk about the Forest Service’s unique role in managing the trail in Georgia.
“The Trails to Every Classroom effort in Union County is an outstanding example of successful youth outdoor outreach,” said Baker. “Through it, students connect with the nature, history and culture in their backyard. It gives them a real sense of place, and it helps them understand and embrace the Forest Service mission.”
Students created a video about their remarkable school year and the impact it has had on their lives.
Two students wrote the following Appalachian Trail haikus:
The great east coast trail
called the Appalachian Trail
many miles long.
- Dakota Reeves
from Georgia to Maine very
long from start to end.
- Isaiah Beavers