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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Glen Alton, Giles County, Virginia, USA

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Glen Alton, Giles County, Virginia, USA
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Registered: November 2011
City/Town/Province: Pembroke
Posts: 1
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Giles County, Virginia is a beautiful place to live. It is located in the Southwestern part of Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I am Alex, short for Alexandra, and I love the mountainous land I call home. Though I live in the country, I felt we take our beautiful surroundings for granted, do not take advantage of all the area has to offer, and kids are not actively getting outside like they should. Therefore I chose to do a community awareness project, teaching adults and children, about the great outdoors and how to preserve these habitats for many generations to come.
Glen Alton used to be a farm, in the 1930’s, and was turned into a park by the U.S Forest Service in 1999. The Forest Service restored the farm and created a public area that includes picnic areas, trails, and fishing ponds. For my project, I planned an event where families could come to Glen Alton for a day of fun and learning. We called it Glen Alton Day: Come out and Play. There was fishing, learning about Hawks, tree identification walks, Appalachian Trail adventure hikes, leaf collecting, a fairy discovery trail, and a sand/water park for the little kids. I worked all summer with Sheryl Lyles with the Forestry Department to plan, organize, and execute this project. I met with professors to learn about tree identification, picked out and marked trees I wanted to teach about, and researched the trees from our area. My friend, Brianna, also worked with me. She helped lead hikes and did some of the teaching. We went to local businesses to solicit donations for tree tags, fairy houses, and supplies for trail mix for the kids. I made flyers to take to the local businesses, to the schools, and placed ads in the local paper for “Glen Alton Day”. June 4, 2011 was the Day. Before the big day, many hours were spent getting ready. Learning about trees was the part I would spend the most time on. I wanted the adults and kids to come away with a good working knowledge of the ten most common trees in our area. They would come away being able to identify these trees from the bark or from their leaves. A skill many in today’s society can’t do any more. They learned about the need to preserve one of our greatest natural resources: the trees.
This day was suppose the draw people out, to get to know the resources offered in Giles County, and to make it “so much fun” people would want to get out and enjoy the great outdoors often. The goal was to reach young and old alike. We had activities geared for the very young (like making mud pies), to the old who could just sit and fish. We had the Forestry Service there teaching and sharing their resources. The day went very well. Many more families showed up than we had planned for, that was extremely rewarding after all the hard work that went into planning the day. I had many kids and parents come up to me and ask if Glen Alton day could be every week. So many people enjoyed the day that the Forestry Service decided to have Glen Alton Day every Saturday for the summer. I continued to teach kids and lead hikes that summer. Not only did I help with Glen Alton Day that summer, but I began volunteering my time at the local daycare, named Kids and Company. My friend Brianna and I taught the kids at the daycare about trees. We made up games, did coloring sheets and brought leaves to teach about trees to 3-6 year olds.
This project increased the communities awareness of the resources offered in Giles County and got many out experiencing nature. They loved spending time outdoors so much, that Glen Alton Day may continue on this summer. I am proud to have been a part of this community awareness project and knowing it will continue long after I have gone off to college. This project benefited the environment because people are becoming more aware of their surroundings, developing a love for nature, and hopefully the desire to preserve the beautiful world we live.
My Glen Alton Day has changed me also. Before this project, I had no idea how to organize such a large event. With some guidance I gained valuable skills in planning such events and hope to organize more community awareness projects. I want to make sure that even though technology is making life so much easier to stay inside, being outside is more rewarding. I know that this project only affected a few in the world but I hope to change the world a little at time.
Date: December 31, 2011 Views: 7063 File size: 15.7kb, 29.4kb : 461 x 297
Hours Volunteered: 160
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 16
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Registered: May 2012
City/Town/Province: Virginia beach
Posts: 1
May 4, 2012 7:54pm

Wow, That's wonderful! And Soo Beautiful! I hope the next time my family travels through there from Virginia Beach to Iowa or Indiana we could visit along the way! Great Idea!