Biology teacher Beatrice Burnside and her Biology 2 class pose for a photo with Upshur County commissioners Sam Nolte, Kristie Tenney and president Terry Cutright.

B-UHS biology class to establish learning trail along the Upshur County Trails project

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission approved a request from a Buckhannon-Upshur High School biology class to implement a learning trail on the mountain biking, hiking and running Upshur County Trails project near the high school.

B-UHS Biology 2 teacher Beatrice Burnside said they’ve already received funding for the project through the West Virginia Professional Educators Association.

B-UHS junior Dylan Cornett said the class was hoping to place the learning trail on the bike path near the school that volunteers have already carved out.

“We would like to ask to create a learning trail on the high school campus,” Cornett said. “We will explain the basic concepts of nature to educate our community and schools. Our current goal is to create different interest points on the biking trail north of the Freal Red Crites Memorial Stadium.”

B-UHS senior Ashton Hollen said their class hopes the whole community will benefit from the learning trail.

“Our class can see the community benefiting greatly from our learning trail,” Hollen said. “It will be available to everyone and the informational markers will be written in a way that an average person who has done no in-depth studying on the topic will be able to understand. This a way for our community and tourists to appreciate and connect with nature.”

She said other students will also be able to benefit from the new learning experience.

“Our school systems will also benefit especially the science classes because they will be able to utilize the trail,” Hollen said “This can be used as an educational and interactive learning environment for students and elementary schools as they go on many community field trips throughout the school year.”

B-UHS senior Austin Russell said this project has also crossed into other classes, other than biology.

What started as a small classroom project has now blossomed into a larger co-curricular activity involving the Biology 2 class, agricultural education and digital imaging, Russell said.

“Digital imaging has taken our vision and has agreed to prepare flyers and pamphlets to further advertise the trail, which will be available in the visitor center downtown and the agricultural education has agreed to aid us in the construction of the post and the QR code displays,” he said.

B-UHS senior Kennedi Lewellyn said the agricultural department will be in charge of maintenance of the trail.

“I know that maintenance and safety may be vital concern so I’m going to address those issues,” Lewellyn said. “One concern is the maintenance of the trail next year because we are unsure if we will obtain the Bio 2 class in the 2021 school year, so we have delegated the maintenance responsibility to the Agriculture Department as they’re going to help us construct the trail.”

She said the trail should not require constant maintenance.

“However, we have designed this trail to be a long-term exhibit that will not require extreme maintenance,” Lewellyn said. “The posts will be able to withstand harsh weather and other conditions and the QR code that we intend to use will be permanent, and it will not expire. Referring to the safety of the trail, we do not intend to hinder the current use of the trail.”

The group finished their presentation by showing the commission their working QR code. Commissioner Kristie Tenney made the motion to approve their project and commissioner Nolte seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

In other Upshur County Commission news:

  • The Upshur County Commission approved an advertisement for a full-time animal control officer. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Feb. 18, 2020.
  • The commission received and accepted one bid for one police sedan from Jenkins Ford in the amount of $26,635. This cruiser will replace another cruiser that was deemed a total loss.
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