Science and Technology News

Friday, November 4, 2011

DoD 2011 NPLD Project – Upgrades to Wetland and Cultural Center, Redstone Arsenal

DoD is funding 41 National Public Lands Day (NPLD) sites on military installations in 2011. The event  encourages volunteers to explore and enjoy America’s natural wonders through outdoor recreation. Find out more about one of these projects below.

Redstone Arsenal’s (RSA) Path to Nature is an environmental and cultural outdoor education center which began in 1992 as a cooperative effort with the Huntsville (HSV) City School System’s Environmental Education Program (EARTHSCOPE) to provide wetland field trips.  In 1993, the Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program funded the design and construction of a Watchable Wildlife Site in Wetlands which includes ecological and cultural concept signs, and numerous plant identification signs along a 3800 foot interpretive trail with two boardwalks that wind their way through pristine tupelo gum swamps, lush bottomland forest, and scrub/shrub swamps.

The 1995 construction of the outdoor classroom/pavilion/bathrooms was funded by the Army Community of Excellence and the Redstone Arsenal Army Garrison. The facility is open to Redstone Arsenal personnel, Huntsville City, Madison County and other surrounding counties’ school systems, and all citizens for wetland and cultural education functions.

Through the years, the Path to Nature has gained various additions and upgrades to further the educational quality of the Center, including native trees, pollinator friendly landscaping, bluebird boxes, a replica Mississippian Era Mud Hut, and an American Indian garden. Thirteen volunteers continued this trend on September 24 by working on the mud hut, trails, boardwalks, landscaping around the outdoor classroom, and installing artificial wildlife habitat.  Volunteers stained and installed a bat house and a Purple Martin house.  Some trail maintenance was performed, including limb trimming, trail clearing, filling holes with gravel, and boardwalk sweeping. Landscaping around the outdoor classroom was weeded, landscaping edging installed, and perennial pollinator-friendly plants were added.

For more information about this project, please contact Shannon Allen, shannon.l.allen@us.army.mil.

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