The Nantahala Hiking Club leads hikes for local schools. Prior to each hike, an NHC member provides a class called Hiking 101, which includes training about the Appalachian Trail (where most hikes are held), “Leave No Trace”(outdoor ethics), and day hiking fundamentals (what to wear and what to bring on a day hike). Hikes have been led for kindergarten through 7th grade. Typically, we lead 4-6 per school year with an average of 60 students per hike. Hike distance is usually about 4 miles.
The NHC has also provided teacher workshops and supported the Appalachian Trail’s Trail to Every Classroom program. The teacher workshops covered the basics of day hiking and how to use hiking to teach specific classroom subjects.
NHC has also provided assistance to one local art teacher and helped to sponsor the “Nature Art Show” at the Macon County Library. A slideshow of trail photos showing the flora and fauna found on the trail provides inspiration to our young artists.
NHC designed and helped construct, with student participation, 2 trails on local school grounds. Students surprised our maintainers with their ability to use maintenance tools. One trail is a scaled mini-Appalachian Trail.
Once a year NHC supports an 8th-grade overnight camping trip which focuses on water testing and salamanders. We also have several hip pocket activities for campground participation after dinner.
NHC, in coordination with the US Forest Service, supported the development of a student-designed trail kiosks. The kiosk content is determined by the students and changed on a routine basis.
Recently, NHC gave a presentation on “Hiking as a Healthy Lifestyle” to a 3rd grade PE class. Students were encouraged to discuss what they liked and feared about going outside. Slideshow of the flora and fauna and other trail treasures was shared. Day hiking basics were discussed.