0

Hightower Trail looking for help to clean nature trail

The project is one of 38 to be handled this year by Hands Across Rockdale. Volunteers will paint an outdoor stage and benches and handle general cleanup of the area.

The project is one of 38 to be handled this year by Hands Across Rockdale. Volunteers will paint an outdoor stage and benches and handle general cleanup of the area.

photo

Hightower Trail Elementary School is looking for volunteers to help clean up its nature trail and outdoor classroom area from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 13. Pictured are (kneeling) Peyton Koenig and Rachel Risacher, (standing, from left) Aliyah Jones, Shanice Edwards, Aniya Drammeh, Colby Jackson and Perrin Jackson with June Blanche, who is the scout leader of the girl scout Troop #27532, the Cherry Blossom Service Unit. Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith

CONYERS -- Hightower Trail Elementary School is in need of some helping hands.

School officials are hoping to renovate its nature trail and outdoor classroom area and are looking for more volunteers to donate their time beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, April 13.

"We love having outdoor learning stations for our students, but as it stands right now, much of it is unusable for us," said school Principal Laura Bates.

The trail was created by the Junior Beta Club of 2008-09 and students studied animals and habitats. It also included a garden for senses and other topics, a reading area, game and art stations and rock studies. Part of the nature trail might have existed at the school at least 20 years ago or more.

Some classes have used it for various activities recently, but it is need of some love and care from the community because of a lack of maintenance over the years.

The school submitted an application through the Rockdale County Chamber of Commerce's Hands Across Rockdale Initiative under Leadership Rockdale, and it was accepted as one of the group's projects for the year. Hands Across Rockdale is working on 38 projects this year, up from 24 projects last year, which was its inaugural year; it expects to handle more projects each year into the future.

"We truly appreciate the folks from Hands Across Rockdale being willing to come out and help us with this worthwhile project," Bates said. "We all know that learning takes place everywhere, not just inside the four walls of a classroom."

Hands Across Rockdale will send out a group of volunteers on April 13 to the school to help assist. The school also is looking for anybody else in the community to come help out too -- parents, students, church and civic groups, businesses and other residents.

At the event, volunteers will paint an outdoor stage and benches and do general yard work like picking up sticks and raking until noon.

Interested volunteers should contact Lisa Scheaffer, the school's parent involvement coordinator, to sign up by calling her at 770-388-0751, ext. 17130 or emailing her at lscheaffer@rockdale.k12.ga.us.

Donations and financial sponsorships ranging from $50 to $750 also are available.

The school plans to reopen the trail for use on Monday, April 15.

In the future, the school hopes to use it for more hands-on, common core standards-based activities. The school has developed a nature trail committee that will meet once a month to help keep it maintained.

Also Saturday, the school will hold a sidewalk sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.