Environmental Nature Trail at NSCC
Nashville State Community College in Nashville, Tennessee, is working on building an outdoor classroom/trail that will be used as an educational learning tool for biology and horticultural students, as well as community groups. In the Spring of 2009 there will be an Environmental Science course offered. We are partnering with the Cumberland River Compact, Richland Creek Watershed Alliance and local Boy Scout troops to get the trail built. The campus groups involved in this project are the Biology and Horticulture Departments, the administration, the Environmental Concerns Committee (a faculty and staff group), and the Students for the Environment club (a sub-group of the ECC). Our president has demonstrated his commitment to leadership in eliminating global warming emissions, and achieving climate neutrality by signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment last year.
The trail is being designed to have minimal impact on the watershed and to protect the old growth trees that are on the school’s campus and provide cover and places for wildlife to raise young. This will help reduce the school’s carbon footprint since trees produce oxygen, which is needed to help absorb carbon dioxide one of the main causes of global warming. 85 acres are wooded and part of Cumberland River water basin and the Richland Creek watershed. Richland Creek was settled because of its fertile soil which is how the creek got its name “Rich” land. Along the trail there will be bird nesting boxes and bat houses. There will be tree identification and cover boxes placed to provide cover and habitat for snakes and salamanders. It is hoped that we can turn this area into an official National Wildlife Federation Habitat Area by providing the 4 basic needs of wildlife: food, water, cover and places to raise their young. We will be planting only native species. On Arbor Day, in March 2009, we will have our annual tree give-away of native species trees, and will be educating the students and faculty about the importance of planting trees to help control global warming. Some of the trees will be kept and planted on the campus, thus helping reduce the carbon footprint of the campus. The nature trail will connect to the existing Richland Creek Greenway which will promote its use as a transportation alternative for students, faculty and staff coming and going from the campus. This will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels thus reducing global warming.
Rain gardens will be planted with native vegetation to control the storm water runoff from the school’s parking lot. Mulching and composting methods of gardening will be used in the gardens. Evasive species will be removed. Pesticide use will be limited. Benches will be placed along the trail so that classes and community groups can have areas for group study.
We want to build this trail to be a state of the art educational tool for college students and the surrounding community.
This is what was submitted to the National Wildlife Federation Chill Out Contest.