PCMS students help landscape PAC Wildlife Sanctuary

Published 5:35 pm Thursday, June 11, 2009

The handiwork of seven Polk County middle school students in the &dquo;Hands of Change&dquo; service program made the parking entrance to the Pacolet Area Conservancy-protected Weaverbarton Shuford Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary on Shuford Road in Columbus functional and appealing. On April 30, the students spreaded two dump truck loads of wood chips throughout the Shuford parking lot. The Town of Columbus had provided and delivered the wood chips to the location, where the Hands of Change students went to work under the supervision of two advisors and two Pacolet Area Conservancy volunteers.

Armed with pitchforks, shovels, rakes, and a lot of vigor and competitive spirit, the young people made relatively short work of transforming two large piles of shavings into a smooth layer of mulch. The school system provided the activity bus, Polk County donated the wood chips and the Town of Columbus used its resources, manpower and dump truck to deliver the material.

&dquo;Hands of Change&dquo; is a middle school service program that engages students to work after school in ways that help our community. It is a partnership between the PCMS Voyager program and a collaboration of regional churches under the Leadership of Lance Smith, CE-Youth Director at the Congregational Church of Tryon UCC.

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PAC volunteers explained the value of the work the students were doing in relation to the conservation of the property. In 1998, Dr. Robert Shuford donated to The Pacolet Area Conservancy a conservation easement agreement throughout Shuford&squo;s woodlands which allowed for a public wildlife sanctuary threaded by nature trails designed and built by PAC volunteers and community members

&bsp;PAC brochures are available on-site for a self-guided nature trail experience in which trail-walkers can look for particular flora and fauna, such as the yellow-bellied sapsucker, cranefly orchid, and the Christmas fern, among many others.

June marks the official opening of the North Carolina Birding Trail for the Mountain Region, which includes the Weaverbarton Shuford Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary. PAC&squo;s Wilder Forest, FENCE and Pearson Falls are also part of the NC Birding Trail. For additional information about conservation easements or PAC trail systems, contact

The Pacolet Area Conservancy at 828-859-5060, or email: info@pacolet.org.

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