Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Monkeying Around in Franklin, NC!

Tracy uses "Sparks" the camp stove to teach Be Careful With Fire

Franklin, NC.  Franklin is a mountain town nestled in the Nantahala National Forest.  There is no shortage of recreational activities in this region of the country.  The Traveling Trainers were on hand to visit local schools, provide an evening program at the library, and set up a booth at the Franklin Trail Days event.  This event is catered to the cadre of hikers that are attempting to through hike the Appalachian Trail (AT).  Yes, that is right, through hikers complete the roughly 2,180 mile trek in one shot, traveling from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine.  This is usually completed in a spring/summer season, although we met Jennifer Pharr-Davis who completed the trek in a mere 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes, setting an all time speed record!  
Not everyone we encountered in Franklin was up to this monumental challenge, but some 2-3 million people hike along sections of the AT every year.   We had plenty of time during our stay to work in local schools to teach the skills and ethics to students that either enjoy spending time outdoors or who aspire to one day through hike the AT!

First graders watch "Trek and Track" hike up Misty Mountain

After working with a very astute class of first graders, we took them on a Leave No Trace "hike" in their own school yard.  They mastered the Peak principle Trash Your Trash, as we left the school yard looking better than we found it as we collected an entire bag of micro-trash from the school yard. We also encountered this beautiful feather pictured below.  One student found the feather and brought it to our attention.  After learning to Leave What You Find, we made a class decision to leave the feather in its natural setting so that others could come upon it and be as excited as we were when we found it.  We decided to take a picture, instead of taking it home!
We finished our time with a rousing game of Leave No Trace Draw.  This activity engages students by having them answer Leave No Trace scenario questions.  If they get the answer correct, they get to complete a Wildlife Challenge!  Pictured below, we are all monkeying around a bit!
Leave No Trace Draw
We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to Bill and Sharon Van Horn for setting up 3 chock full days in Franklin, NC.  We wish them well as they hike hard this year to attain their goal of completing the AT in 2012.  They have 600 miles to go! Happy hiking Bill and Sharon!

Respect the Resource...Kate and Tracy

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