On Saturday, October 25, we will be heading over to Panola Mountain State Park for a day of service and fun! We will meet in the IC parking lot at 9:00 AM. We will be assisting them with trail maintenance in the park from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. After we wrap up the service portion, we will have a couple hours to clean up, eat lunch, and hang out before our recreation. We will then head over to a 97 foot tall southern red old oak tree for rope and harness assisted tree climbing! We should be back on campus early evening on Saturday. The cost for this trip is $5 which includes gas money and lunch.
This trip is full. Sign-ups are for it are now closed.
The last weekend of September 2013, a group of 21 ambitious Trailblazers set off for the Chattahoochee National Forrest in Northern Georgia to join in the fight to Save Georgia’s Hemlocks. We camped overnight at Mulky Creek Campground, where the s’mores and bannock bread-cooked-on-sticks ran freely. We took a sojourn to a clearing close to our campsite to enjoy the starry, moonless, and clear night sky. The Milky Way was clearly visible and the power of modern laser technology allowed for a spot of astronomical education and pro stargazing.
After a restful (albeit chilly) night, we broke camp and joined a group of 30 or so volunteers and crew leaders to begin our project with Save Georgia’s Hemlocks. We split into groups of 4 under the guidance of crew leaders to treat assigned Hemlock trees with a chemical that is safe for the plant but toxic to the invasive Hemlock Wooly Adelgid bug that feeds on the sap of Hemlock trees and has no natural predators in the Eastern United States. We used soil injectors (read: massive hypodermic needles designed to deliver chemicals through soil “Hypoteric Needles”) to disperse this environmentally harmless chemical throughout the soil around the base of Hemlock trees. This chemical is taken up by the tree’s root system and effectively “vaccinates it” against the Wooly Adelgid. Throughout this process, the Hemlock trees were measured for growth to determine proper dosage and track health, and replacement of the identifying dog tags on each treated tree was carried out as needed. Over 200 trees were treated by the Trailblazers alone. These trees will survive any onslaught of Wooly Adelgid, and preserve the Hemlock genome so it can repopulate once the invasive critter has died out.
After hugging trees and giving Mother Nature her needed shots, we traipsed to Sea Creek waterfall. Here we had lunch and heard from many great outdoor service organizations including the Benton MacAye Trail Association, Go Outdoors! USA, the Mountain Stewards, and the executive leadership of Save Georgia’s Hemlocks about conservation efforts being undertaken in Northern Georgia. We were able to present the basic philosophy and operating principles of Trailblazers, and all gathered there were thoroughly impressed at what a group of determined young people could achieved. After the educational session, we tarried around the waterfall to chill out and take a few pictures to remember the time by. We then headed for home, satisfied that we’d left the lasting, characteristic Trailblazers mark of service on the Hemlocks of the Chattahoochee National Forest.
Our first trip, more of a social outing, was a success! The sunny beautiful weather was soaked up while laying back in our tubes. The water was a little chillier, but spirits were high. The traditional football was tossed around, which helped in getting to know names and connecting the whole group that drifted apart from time to time. Some members were a little less balanced than others and ended up taking miniature swims mid float; others twirled around with childlike fascination . The casual slow pace floating down the river allowed new comers and Trailblazer executive board to become acquainted and was just an overall relaxing Saturday morning away from school stresses. Post float, while waiting for the shuttle to arrive, an intense game of monkey in the middle football ensued. We decided to go to a near by park that we originally were dropped off at the start of tubing. A feast of kings occurred while making announcements for future events and explaining the basis for the club. Ultimate was peoples’ choice as a post-lunch game. One team was more loaded than the other, but all in all the game was sportsman like. The beautiful day with cheerful faces was wrapped up with pictures along the loading ramp. With a great turnout and fascinating new members, the trip seemed to make a great first impression for a successful year with heightened interest and participation.