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Cub Scout Pack 59 Webelos revitalize Sullivan’s Island Elementary School Nature Trail

Download May 2010 Booklet pdf file: (small file is 9 meg)

sies nature trail

SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, South Carolina, January 30, 2009–

The Cub Scout Pack 59 Webelos, chartered by Stella Maris Catholic Church on Sullivan’s Island, re-dedicated the Sullivan’s Island Elementary School Nature Trail today in a brief ceremony recognizing the importance of this natural asset to our community. 4th and 5th grade Webelos Cub Scouts Christopher Diamond-Hettinger, Matthew Dodds, Wynn Fabrizio, Kyle Harris, Clayton Johnson, John Jones, Andrew Killough, Devon Lee, Jack Marino, Price Nimmich, Michael Psenka, AJ Schmidt, and Elliott Suggs, along with their families, spent two Saturdays in November and one day over Christmas break cleaning up the trail, which had been neglected for some 14 years.

“The importance of children understanding and caring for our natural environment cannot be underestimated.  I am extremely proud of the Webelo’s efforts to revive this very special trail.  Sullivan’s Island Elementary School is extremely fortunate to have an “outdoor science classroom” just beyond our backdoor!  I look forward to seeing this educational resource used by our students and others for generations to come,” said Sullivan’s Island Elementary School Principal, Susan King.

After a few outings to confirm the existing path placement and post markers, (all of which were reclaimed and restored), the Webelos den was put to work trimming and raking aside limbs, vines and weeds, all in accordance with Town existing beach path ordinances.  Following the Boy Scouts of America Outdoor Code, the scouts did not remove anything from the site except trash found.  No foliage was completely removed from the trail, instead it was raked aside to allow wildlife to continue using the berries and branches as food and nesting sources.

The Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail was created in 1985 by former SIES Principal Fleming Harris and former SIES teacher Judith Cummings Reese.  At that time, with the assistance of many government agencies and individuals including the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, a booklet trail guide was created to highlight the flora and fauna of the trail, completely illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Mrs. Reese.  Soon after, the trail was utilized not only by island children, students throughout the state of South Carolina enjoyed field trips to the trail to see and learn their coastal science lessons first hand.  Some of these children had never seen the beach, despite living within miles of the ocean.   Webelos den leader Carol Killough is heading up an effort to redesign and reprint the now depleted booklets this spring, with the help of Billy McCord from SCDNR, Mary Pringle from the Island Turtle Team and printing donated by island resident Robbie Kennemur of ProLegal Copies.  Artwork and photography of native species located on the trail is needed.  “After walking the nature trail, I was very impressed with the diversity of plant and animal life in such a small area. I can’t think of any other school that has a setting so rich in maritime and coastal flora and fauna as Sullivan’s Island Elementary. I commend the scouts for their very hard work in clearing the paths and bringing the trail back to life,” said Island Turtle Team Project Leader, Mary Pringle.

The Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail has 15 stations, which allow students and teachers to see first hand the coastal landforms, plants and animals which make up our fragile ecosystem.  The Trail starts at the school playground, which backs up to the Maritime forest.  From the Maritime forest, students traverse through the secondary and primary dunes, out to the beach to tidal pools and back through a separate trail to see wax myrtles, “toothache” trees, the effects of the salt spray and more.

“It is our hope that the Pack 59 Webelos dens of the future will continue to adopt this trail as their community service project and that it will be annually maintained and regularly utilized by children throughout the State for years to come,” said Killough.

SIES Nature Trail 2Pack 59 is a Cub Scout pack with the Coastal Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is chartered by Stella Maris Catholic Church on Sullivan’s Island.  Scouts from Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island and Mount Pleasant are members of Pack 59, with active dens for each grade 1-5.  If a boy is interested in becoming a cub scout, or would like more information, he may contact the Council Service Center at 843-763-0305.

School groups interested in arranging use of the nature trail may contact Trudie Cantrell at SIES at 883-3118.

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