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"CHET WAS HIS NICKNAME..."

Fairfield: THE CHESTER A. ARTHUR WALKWAY AND FAIRFIELD CENTER SCHOOL

During the week of Sept. 9 through Sept. 13, 2002 the Fairfield Center School, with the help of the Hazen's Notch Association, put in a Nature Walkway at the Chester A. Arthur Birthplace in Fairfield.

The nature trail has a number of benefits to the public, the Town of Fairfield and the students of the school. It provides visitors and students alike an opportunity to experience the natural surroundings of the home and to learn about the interesting natural resource features that are present. The completed trail provides an excellent setting for learning about the forest ecology of the area. The forest at The Chester A. Arthur Birthplace has many old trees, plants and habitats and serves well as an outdoor classroom for Fairfield students.

The following text was written by 5th grade students Alissa, Nora, William and John.


kids on trailMore than 120 years after a native son assumed the presidency of the United States; a new generation of his hometown people has contributed to his memory.

If 300 Fairfield Center School students had a hammer ...well, we'd build a trail and that's exactly what we did. From the wee pre-schoolers to the larger 8th graders, we worked on a five day interdisciplinary project designing and building a walking path at the historic site. We have found that no job is too big for a school community. Kids have enormous energy. We got a lot of work done.

The 5th grades were the main classes that made the trail, but we didn't do it all by ourselves! Pre-school through 8th grade helped. Pre-schoolers helped by bringing us buckets of gravel, and they paired up with us to lay it down. Kindergarteners to the 2nd graders did their part by putting down the much needed bark mulch.

The 3rd and 4th graders made animal debris shelters for the animals to use in the winter.

The 6th graders came to help, but it rained. So... we loaded everything in the bus and came back to school to build their bridge under the eaves.

The 7th graders also built a bridge, but they did it at the site. They also helped with the new load of gravel.

The 8th graders did their part by building and laying boardwalks where they were needed. These bridges and boardwalks are necessary to cover the wetlands on our path.

As noted, the 5th grades were the main classes and got to spend everyday at the site. We put down gravel and bark mulch. We made a bridge, boardwalk, a stepping stone walkway and log steps to get up and down the steps.

We have done a lot of things with the trail since we have finished building it. We have had a birthday party for Chester A. Arthur (with the 5th graders, Senior Citizens and pre-schoolers of Fairfield). We have gone snowshoeing with students from the neighboring town of Bakersfield. We invited students from Washington Village School to visit as a kick off for their project and the students from Fairfield Center School have used the site numerous times for ELF (Environmental Learning for the Future) classes. This project was great because we got to see it from beginning to end. The nature trail will make a perfect setting for environmental education right in the outdoors, not to mention enriching the experience of any visitor to the historic site. This project promoted out school's philosophy of the spirit for volunteer service to the community. It was a great boost to see the job finished and then share it with our community members. We love our site and we can't wait until Phase 2. (School year 2003-2004) Please come visit us!