HARRINGTON — Hawk’s Hollow Nature Trail, a significant new educational attraction for Harrington Elementary School’s 190 pupils, was dedicated Friday during an assembly of pupils and project supporters.
The nature trail has a boardwalk entrance and sign, wooden benches, birdhouses and feeders made by pupils, and many wildflowers and trees bearing labels of identification created by pupils.
Principal Ronald Looke said the winding trail through the wooded area on the nine acres of school property was the brainchild of Gail Moorehouse and other members of the school’s Parent Volunteers.
About $2,500 was invested in the project by an anonymous donor who considered the value of utilizing the natural environment that surrounds the school in much the same manner as a well-built bird’s nest shields and helps a prized egg in its process of maturing.
Other donations of money, time and talents by area citizens and youths helped to create the pathway as one of the school’s natural assets. Georgia-Pacific Corp. of Woodland, a special contributor to the project, was represented by Laura Proud, public relations coordinator from Woodland and G-P forester Ernest Carle.
Guest speakers included Fran Robinson and Mary Ann McGarry, members of the faculty at the University of Maine at Machias; and Ada and Frank Graham Jr. of Milbridge, naturalists and authors.
Moorehouse commented on the importance of caring for the trail and developing it more fully in future years.
Robinson said Harrington Elementary School pupils were among the 2,000 children and youths who each year are introduced to nature trails at the University’s Greenland Point natural campsite at Princeton. The UMM camp has been in operation since 1984.
“Schools and teachers became a part of the understanding of nature, trails and the environment,” she said.
McGarry, a native of Colorado, said she never had woods and its natural wildlife around the school that she attended in a city. She encouraged the pupils to be good stewards of the natural environment by maintaining the natural habitat for its birds and animals.
Speaking to the assembly of school children and adults, Frank Graham told a brief story about a soldier in Vietnam whose experiences as a young person on a nature trail “helped him from getting killed and going crazy in Vietnam.” The soldier borrowed binoculars from another U.S. military man and focused his attention on birdwatching. The soldier overcame boredom by watching birds in the jungle.
Quoting naturalist Henry David Thoreau, Graham said, “If you want to see something new, go down the same trail you went on yesterday. You’ll never be bored.”
Ada Graham urged the children and adults to care for their newfound natural environment. “If you love something, you’ll care about it and want to keep it and want to share it with others.” She said she and her husband came to Milbridge several years ago from the city. It was one of the few towns in Maine with a park on the ocean.
“Every year for 10 years,” she said, the Grahams got people together at McClellan Park in Milbridge and learned the names of plants and shared the information. One of the Milbridge children who learned from the oceanside park experience, Jane Bradbury Snyder of Harrington, was first to tell the Grahams of the Hawk’s Hollow Nature Trail.
Snyder, now a UMM student, invited the Grahams to the dedication of Hawk’s Hollow Nature Trail.