CONCORD-Carolina International School puts a large emphasis on its environmental curriculum and now students have a space to learn more about the nature that surrounds them on campus.

Nicholas Huffman, 17, is a junior at the school and for his Eagle Scout project he decided to give the school something that would benefit classes and the cross country teams; a nature trail.

“My school is really nature-oriented and I wanted to help,” Huffman said. “I went to the headmaster who has worked with an Eagle Scout before and asked how I could help the school. He shared some ideas and we decided I would do a nature trail.”

That’s how the Carolina International School (CIS) Nature Trail was born.

So Huffman got to work gathering people who could help, including DreamWorks Landscaping and Vulcan Materials which donated gravel after he wrote them a letter. He used donations from family and church members to pay for the landscaping and purchase supplies.

Another key player in making the nature trail a reality was an arborist that the family knew. He and Huffman walked the nature trail identifying plants and trees throughout the trail to create a guide. Each item identified was given a number and added to the guide at the beginning of the trail.

“Instead of just putting a sign that had a name and description, he said I should do numbers so it would be more organized,” Huffman said. “So each number coordinated to something on the guide.”

When students make their way to the trail, they are greeted by a sign welcoming them to the CIS Nature Trail and introducing them to things they might see along the way. Students are encouraged to take a guide from a box at the entrance and learn more about each item.

Examples include blackberries, various leaves, logs and a pignut hickory tree. Huffman said all of the signs were donated by Spot On Graphix.

The trail is about 400 yards and connects to the school’s soccer fields. So not only does it benefit science classes and students hoping to learn more about nature, it’s also the perfect location for the cross country team and will allow them to host home matches for the first time.

“The cross country team was having to run at parks, so I wanted to do something for them,” Huffman said. “I’m really pleased with how it turned out. The faculty is happy with it and the cross country team is happy with the trail.”

Huffman hopes teachers and classes will continue to utilize the trail after he graduates from CIS.

“My hope is that after leaving this school, it goes into great use,” Huffman said. “I want it to be an educational thing.”

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