Nature Trail Days kick off at Gilead Hill School

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Mon., Oct. 7, 2013
Gilead Hill School second-graders check out specimens at the insects station during Nature Trail Days on Oct. 2. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Gilead Hill School second-graders check out specimens at the insects station during Nature Trail Days on Oct. 2. Photos by Melanie Savage.

As Carolyn Aubin ushered the first group of kindergartners onto the path through the woods behind Gilead Hill School on Oct. 2, she encouraged them to keep their eyes and ears open to the signs of nature all around them. A small flock of Canada geese called from overhead, en route from a cut corn field near the school. The children looked up to watch the flock pass over their heads. As the students resumed their walk, Aubin’s eyes glistened. “I’m sorry to get so emotional,” she said. “It was just really beautiful to see all of those little faces looking up at the same time.”

Aubin started Nature Trail Days seven years ago at Hebron Elementary School, as a means to get teachers and kids outside for a day of exploration and learning. “And maybe that will spark an interest in nature,” said Aubin. The program was soon expanded to include Gilead Hill.

Aubin worked for many years as a horticultural therapist before dedicating herself to raising her three boys. Though her boys are all out of the house now (the youngest is a sophomore at Boston College), Aubin still dedicates plenty of time to the local school system, as well as other volunteer endeavors. She very much believes in the importance of allowing children an opportunity to learn about the natural world. “So many children these days don’t have the chance to get outside and learn about nature,” she said.

This year’s Gilead Hill event involved a number of parents who were enlisted to help chaperone classes, take photographs, assist presenters and perform other duties. Other volunteers prepared presentations centered on four different teaching themes: insects, plants, mammals and birds. Every class at Gilead Hill, from kindergarten through grade two, had an opportunity to rotate between the four stations.

This year’s presenters at Gilead Hill School were Dorry Palmer and Thomas Guay (plants), Tom Gauthier (birds), Al Petell (mammals) and Bernie Noonan (insects).


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