Walk in the Woods
Join outdoor learning and adventure expert, Steve Cooper, for an energizing walk on WT's Northbound Trail.
With waypoints for interactive learning along the trail and camaraderie around the bonfire, it’s an hour of fun for the whole family.
WT's Northbound Trail: Where imaginative literature, pioneer endeavors, and leadership training converge
Some third graders at WT’s Lower School North Campus found they had an affinity for “notching,” making notches in logs so they fit firmly together; others preferred clearing and leveling the building site; and for a few, pounding the ground into a firm dirt floor was their strong suit.
The fruits of their labors and talents—an authentic log cabin built from the ground up—became the first component of the Pioneer Village which when complete will feature a working blacksmith forge, a wood workers shed, a chopping block sawbuck, a Conestoga wagon, a wigwam, a campfire ring, and trading tables.
As the students built the cabin during their Physical Education class, they were simultaneously reading Little House on the Prairie in Language Arts, and learning about the history of the pioneers in Social Studies. Pioneer Village is just one small part of WT’s new Northbound Trail, an interactive trail system that consists of two components, an interpretive trail that features educational “waypoints” or learning stations, and an off-trail challenge course.
It is this type of cross-curricular learning that Steven Cooper, Physical Education teacher, envisioned when he first conceived an interactive trail that would utilize the nearly eight acres of outdoor space surrounding the school.
Construction began in the fall of 2011; so far about one-third of the planned three quarter-mile trail is complete. Students have been involved in every step of the creation of the trail, from planning and mapping to trailblazing and construction.
“The amount of trail that gets done is all based on student interest and the time they want to commit to it. The students have been so passionate about this project that we always end up doing more than planned,” said Cooper.