Billingsley to get walking trail

Published 10:18 pm Monday, September 28, 2009

A community walking trail is in the works for Billingsley High School, thanks to recently approved grants.

The trail is part of an “outdoor classroom” project intended to create a hands-on educational experience as well as encourage students to stay active.

Because the school campus is already a popular walking area for local residents, the school hopes to involve the entire community in the project.

“We’re a rural area. There is not really a place for people to get out and exercise,” said School Nurse Wendy Glasscock.

The school initially received $5,000 from Lowe’s for its outdoor classroom project. Part of this money was used to construct a butterfly and hummingbird garden, but the majority will go toward the trail.

Modern Woodmen of America and local nurseries have donated trees and other plants to decorate a planned nature trail and water garden.

About 70 trees were planted last year, and construction on the water garden will begin Oct. 8.

The nature trail will tie into the walking trail behind the school, said Gifted Education Specialist Tammy Tindol.

“We’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had people who have been willing to donate,” she said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health granted Billingsley High School $900 to use toward the walking trail. The grant came as a result of the school’s participation in the School Health Index, part of the STEPS program.

ADPH also donated two copies of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” to the school library, along with classroom materials, an indoor air quality kit, and bottles of hand sanitizer.

“The ADPH was very impressed with Billingsley School’s commitment to improve the health of our students and community,” Glasscock said.

The estimated cost of the walking trail is about $15,000. Tindol said the timeframe of construction will depend upon funding, but she expects to build the trail during the current school year.

“I believe children love to be outside, and if their education can come outside and they can do more things in nature, they just enjoy that,” Tindol said.