By: Southern Basin Director, Haley Tedder

What’s going on at the future site of the Outdoor Classroom?

On a snowy February afternoon in Fort Lawn, a crew of trail builders were in a field setting out a path of bright pink and orange flags. These flags were marking the future site of the Catawba Riverkeeper’s half-mile Interpretive Trail. In late 2020, Duke Energy awarded the Catawba Riverkeeper a South Carolina Habitat Enhancement Program (HEP) Grant that will allow for further property improvements to our 6155 Lancaster Highway property. Let’s take a look at what’s coming soon.

Over the River

We’re pleased to announce that thanks to this Duke Energy grant, we’ll begin construction of an interpretive trail that will be competed late this year. This interpretive trail will be lined with nine stops meant to guide visitors on a journey through the habitats in and around the Catawba River. These habitats host a variety of animals, plants, and mushrooms that depend on a healthy river. We will add a small observation deck over the river that will allow trail visitors to see our beaver pond habitat in a tributary just upstream of property. There will even be 5 artificial wildlife habitats to attract not only the nesting species but the abundant wildlife that will follow them to our site.

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Figure 1. 3D rendering of the finished Outdoor Classroom site. Courtesy of KEi Architects

Through the Woods

The interpretive trail will began in the field you see in this rendering but will lead guests through the woods full of oak and elm trees but end up in forest full of pine and cedar. This short section of trail will feel like true mountain hiking but a lot closer to home. We are thrilled to soon have visitors experience and explore nature at the Outdoor Classroom.

Volunteer Opportunities

Please join us on Earth Day 2021 (April 22) for a native planting day. Come learn about the need for pollinator gardens and why native plant species matter in home gardens, then put your knowledge immediately into action! Registration coming soon.

Special thanks to: The Edwards family, Arras Foundation, Duke Energy, Boy Scouts of America-Palmetto Council, Carolina Thread Trail/Catawba Land Conservancy, Builders Supply Company, and members like you.