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Students blaze the trail for learning

Published Dec. 17, 1995|Updated Oct. 5, 2005

Students in the Interact Club at Land O'Lakes High School aren't just learning about nature. They are designing an educational nature trail to teach elementary school pupils about the environment.

On Thursday, a handful of Land O'Lakes students visited Crews Lake Park in Shady Hills to mark the pathway, which lies adjacent to an existing trail. They will make weekly trips to the park to landscape and plant flowers, bushes, vines and plants native to Florida.

The asphalt trail will be handicapped-accessible and open to the public. The Interact Club will maintain it and place informative placards along its length.

They expect to finish in April, just before Earth Day. Land O'Lakes students will act as tour guides for pupils from Sanders Memorial Elementary School.

"The kids who are working on it are very excited about it," said Land O'Lakes freshman Anne Karpay, who is the historian and videographer for the project. "We need to be informed, because when the kids ask questions we need to know the answers."

Senior Dennis Domisiw is the research and education chairman, entrusted to make sure an activities book is completed for the children.

The interactive program will allow boys and girls ages 5-12, "to look at something or smell it and record it in an activity book," said media specialist Kris Keppel, who with Annette Noack and Joanne Saperstein sponsor the 80-member Interact Club.

"We wanted to find something the kids could design and that was outdoors," Keppel said. "It's a service-learning project in which we have to learn about our project before we can do it."

Mitch Boyle, a horticulturist for the Pasco County Parks and Recreation Department, is an adviser to the high school students.

Crews Lake Park, on Shady Hills Road off State Road 52, was chosen for its proximity to Land O'Lakes High, Keppel said. Nature camps such as Camp Crews-A-While have been held at the park in the past.

A $1,000 grant was secured for the project through a newly formed council, Students Serving Pasco County. Karpay and Land O'Lakes High senior Lisa Watkins were members of the student committee that determined how part of $15,000 in federal grant money would be spent.

Another $248 for the trail was raised through donations from a Powerball Tournament held Thursday morning at Land O'Lakes High. More than 1,700 cans of food for the needy also were donated as part of the third-year tournament.

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