Monday, July 29, 2013

Breaking Down the Mystery of the A.T.

Post by Sarah McGlothlin Narrows Elementary Middle School 7th Grade Scienced Teacher

As I reflect on the Mountain Lake Trail to Every Classroom workshop, I saw several benefits for myself and coworkers.  First of all, this was my very first time being on the Appalachian Trial even though it is in my own county.  I felt a little overwhelmed by the experience, because I was surrounded by other teachers with far greater experience.  Most of them were experienced hikers, experienced Appalachian Trail day hikers, or Appalachian Trail section hikers.  Before this workshop, I didn't even know what clothes to bring or what type of bag I needed to carry on the hike.  It was a time to learn the basics for me.  I was the one who needed to know what to expect/not expect on the trail, how to prepare for the trail experience, and even how to incorporate it in my school.

Secondly, I learned the trail could be broken down.  It always seemed so expansive and inaccessible for someone with a lack of experience like myself.  I never knew it could be broken down into a day hike and that I could change it into a family event.  Before this, the trail seemed like a get on a one spot and stay on forever journey.  Luckily, since that hike I have learned it breaks down and even connects with other trails..
I also built up the courage to take my family members on a hike.  We made a day of it.  Even though I took them on the exact hike that I was shown at the workshop, I was different due to the confidence I put myself to take on the leader position.  I showed them a part of the trail they had never experienced. 
 In addition, several of the teachers at my school tried to schedule a hike for the children of our grade level during June.  It was not a hike on the Appalachian Trail, but it was a short hike to a lovely waterfall in our area called the Cascades. 
Cascades is located in Pembroke, VA
We had several events planned for the students along the way to keep them occupied, rather than just hiking alone.  We were going to cover how to Leave No Trace, have them complete some tree identification with leaf guides, and several other small tasks.  We felt like it would have been a great trip with some real life SOL benefits.  Mainly, we were focusing on them getting out into their community while practicing the SOL skills that could apply to their life.  Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to severe rains that day.  Several of our students were very upset, because they had looked forward to the outdoor activity.  We did have some students who didn't come to school that day, because they did not want to complete the physical activity.  It is our hope that we will be able to do something very similar in the upcoming school year.

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North Carolina NCCAT participants

North Carolina NCCAT participants
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Mary Jane
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