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New Trail Offers Education While Hiking

Feb 11, 2005 – "This is not a trail just for walking," Errol Chichester, board member of the Resource Conservation and Development Council, at the opening of the Estate Adventure Trail Friday. "It is a trail with educational and historical value."
And along with the three dozen officials attending the ribbon cutting, there were eight youngsters from the Evelyn M. Williams Elementary School to take advantage of the educational element. They were members of the Eco-Gecko club. They were all smiles as they set out to do the three-quarter mile hike, as one of their chaperones wondered out loud to them whether they should be worried about bears.
Olasse Davis, St. Croix naturalist and member of the Resource Council, led the group through the trail and he discussed points of interests.
Davis, who also spoke in the opening ceremonies along with Michael Franklin of the V.I. Department of Agriculture Urban and Community Forestry Assistance which funded much of the project, said usually there won't be anyone available to lead hikes, but that was fine because it was a self guiding trail.
The lessons along the trail are given on plaques with informative text and color photographs. The information covers trees from the large – Silk Cotton Kapok, Sand Box and Royal Palm, to the small – Tamarind, Grey Nicker and Genip, and includes those in between such as the Saman Rain Tree and the Mango. In the animal world only fruit bats and tree termites earned plaques on this trail.
Some of the historic sites observed from the trail, which is across Queen Mary's Highway from the V.I. Department of Agriculture in Estate Lower Love, include a water mill from plantation days and a dam from the early part of the last century.
Davis said the opening ceremony marked the completion of the first part of the project. He said a shelter is proposed with maps and benches. He added that donations to finish the second part of the project are being sought.
The project is a partnership effort that includes groups as diverse the Hiking Association, the Bureau of Corrections, students from the two high schools as well as the Agriculture Department and the Resource Council.
Davis said work began in earnest on the project three years ago, although he had envisioned the trail earlier. He said, "It was a lot of work. We had a lot of help and a lot of fun."
For more information about the Estate Adventure Nature Trail, or about the Council itself, contact the office at 692-6932 x5, or visit them on the web at www.usvircd.org.
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