Sunday, January 2, 2011

Jon Soul's update on development of the Coates Bluff Nature Trail

Jon Soul has written a Coates Bluff Trail update -

This is an effort to recap recent activities along Coates Bluff as well as to begin planning for Winter/Spring projects. The response from these activities has been outstanding with students and community volunteers that are now eager to pitch-in and continue the work.

1) MSS lower & upper-elementary students are now walking from school to Valencia park on a regular basis. It takes approx. 15 minutes one-way. We use the gate SPAR installed last year to enter the park before turning around. Students have also delivered flyers throughout adjacent neighborhoods inviting folks to come grab a map and interpretive guide and walk the "nature loop." Based on first hand accounts and the number of copies disappearing from the "map box," the trail is starting to get consistent and positive community use.

2) Robert Trudeau has taken a group of his Magnet High School students on a walking field-trip that skirted the Coates Bluff Trail.

3) Shalon Lewis, manager of SPAR's Valencia Rec Center, and her staff led students signed up for Winter Camp on the trail over the holidays.

4) ABS organized a successful Coates Bluff New Year's Eve hike. There were 14 participants altogether including 6 new faces.

5) Will Smith, a life-long Stoner Hill resident, has done a considerable amount of work in marking, clearing, and cleaning up in and around the cemeteries.

Here are some of the potential projects for this Winter/Spring --

1) MSS is currently working on an introductory curriculum consisting of 5 easily followed lesson plans meant to serve as a guide for teachers and community leaders interested in taking new groups on the trail. These lessons will address Louisiana grade-level expectations (standards).

2) Improvements to the existing trail -- including slope stabilization and erosion control (specifically at the north entrance) and holes to be filled in. Shreveport Green has offered to donate labor and mulch for this effort. Contacting local Eagle Scouts has also been suggested.

3) Trash cleanup -- we have pinpointed several "hot" spots for both old and on-going pollution sources to be addressed. So far this type of work has been done during our annual Spring community cleanup events.

4) Create trail access with and for the E.B. Williams Stoner Hill Elementary school. This would involve installing a gate at the site of an existing historic switch-back trail descending from their property line, clearing brush, and cleaning up dumped trash.

5) Cemetery work -- although these have now been registered with the state, to my knowledge, no contact has yet been made with existing landowners. This appears to be the next step before further significant discovery, research, and renovation can be done (at least by students).

Again, this is just an effort to get us all on the "same page." I will be scheduling a meeting (perhaps during the regular ABS meeting time?) in order to break down and discuss individual projects and tasks. Please feel free to reply with any thoughts or things I have missed before then.

Thank you,

Jon Soul
MSS Outdoor Education Coordinator

1 comment:

Brian Carlisle said...

I hate that I missed the trail walk. I tried to make it. Great project!