MERIDEN — Students at Nathan Hale School celebrated the opening of a nature trail leading from the school to Baldwin Pond.
A ceremony was held Wednesday morning that included a ribbon cutting at the entrance to the trail. Mary Jean Giannetti, the elementary science facilitator for the school district, said having the nature trail will teach students the value of the bee and butterfly population. Around 640 students were gathered on a field for the event. Students were wearing ladybug costumes, headbands with butterflies and carrying signs promoting the trail. Principal Karen Dahn said the trail will be a wonderful resource and help serve as an outdoor classroom.
“Nature is very important,” Dahn told the students. “We have to take care of it and respect the things in nature.”
A small group of students performed a song about Baldwin Pond, and a student read an essay he wrote about harmful pesticide, saying he hopes to become a scientist to help the butterflies. State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, D-Meriden, attended as well. Bartolomeo said her son went to Nathan Hale, and the event felt like a homecoming. Bartolomeo urged students to share their nature knowledge with family members.
“It is so important to protect nature, to protect butterflies,” Bartolomeo said. “So we can have a beautiful world to pass on.”
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Miguel Cardona and David Levenduski, supervisor of instruction and learning, were also on hand to celebrate the event. After speeches and a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the head of the trail, all the students gathered around the wooded area. Teachers passed around “seed bombs,” little balls of dirt and seeds, for the students to throw into the tree line. The seeds will soon take root and provide additional resources for bees and butterflies, Dahn said. Milkweed, one of the plants critical to the Monarch butterflies, were among the seeds distributed.
The children all cheered as the seeds were thrown. Dahn said teachers have already begun to make lesson plans to include activities on the trail. Dahn said she hopes to have some sort of outdoor classroom structure and a greenhouse added to the school property to make fuller use of the trail and the educational opportunities it provides.
Giannetti said the lessons students learn on the nature trail can coincide with the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Students will learn to identify trees, plants, and organisms and learn about geology and gardening.
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