A Walk Down Literary Lane

Nature Writer’s Trail dedicated honoring former faculty

Video Compiled by Staff

Marina J. Powell, Assistant Editor

A new kind of trail was recently dedicated, thanks to the ideas and hard work of several departments and Ferrum faculty.

Located on the west side of Chapman Hall, the Nature Writer’s Trail is a half-mile walk with an important meaning. The trail features placards with information, quotes, and art from influential writers who had something to say about the importance of nature and the environment.

“It’s truly a group effort between faculty, staff, and students. And as a learning tool, it’s fantastic, because the QR codes allow students to go from awareness to understanding of how these authors have changed the world and inspired people to want to explore the earth and to take care of it,” said ecotourism professor Chris Mayer.

The trail is also dedicated to Carolyn L. Thomas, former faculty, due to her love of nature and her impact on staff and students. Her husband, Bob Pohlad, Faculty Emeritus for Science and Agriculture, said carrying on her vision is an honor.

“To have her legacy be recognized here at Ferrum College is huge…I feel her presence every time I’m in nature…I know she is there. And she’s watching down on Ferrum College, too,” Pohlad said.

Every sign along the path was designed by Art and English faculty and features writers such as Robert Frost, Jean Craighead George, and H. D. Thoreau. The idea behind the project was to recognize those who have been inspirations and motivators.

“It started off with a group of faculty sitting around…and talking about this very topic: about who was it that inspired us to do our work, to draw us into the fields that we’re in, whether that was Rec, or Environmental Science or English. And out of that, we ended up creating this idea that took time. But once it got seated I just couldn’t let it go, because I just thought it was a beautiful idea,” said Dan Caston, recreation and leadership professor.

But ideas cannot take root without people to carry them out. English faculty worked to summarize the life, accomplishments, and aspirations of each author, while the Art Department designed simple, engaging signs to convey the information. After nearly eight years of work, the trail was dedicated at the end of last semester and is now available for use.

“I just think that this is an example of how with a great idea, if you follow through with it, you can produce something beautiful and very valuable to a community,” Caston said.

Anyone who wishes to access the Library Guide that details both the authors and the faculty members involved in the project may click here.