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Trailblazers Buddies Club, Fall 2023

This past fall, Trailblazers offered a club for the very first time: Trailblazers Buddies! Younger students are paired up with an older student to enjoy all the usual Trailblazers fun on the BSES Nature Trail. In this club, not only are students getting connected with nature, but they are getting connected with one another!

The first session featured a get-to-know-your-buddy nature walk! The whole group took a hike on the BSES Nature Trail, and we stopped along the way to enjoy ice breakers throughout the trail. It was super fun to see buddies getting to know each other! It also gave our older buddies (many of whom are returning Trailblazers pros) a chance to do some teaching about the trail to their younger buddy.

The second session featured a very unique project: Trailblazers Buddies Club planted a wildflower meadow on the nature trail! Recently, part of our nature trail was impacted by some construction. During this construction, the plants that were there were ripped up and therefore needed replacing! To create this wildflower meadow, the group spread soil and five pounds of seed mix over about a quarter of an acre. After the seed was spread, the students used large pieces of cardboard to step over the seed and soil to increase ground contact. Increased ground contact with the seeds means a better chance for these wildflowers to grow this coming spring! The seed mix that was used was selected because it features a wide variety of native perennial wildflowers that will attract birds, butterflies, and other insects to our trail. Not only will this area be beneficial for wildlife, but it will also feature a showy collection of beautiful flowers!

Our third and fourth sessions were devoted to learning about the birds of Bethel Springs! Our third session was spent exploring the BSES Nature Trail with binoculars, and the fourth session was spent birding over around Peanut Pond. On these days, we were treated to a variety of birds such as Tree Swallow, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Black Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, and even a Great Blue Heron! We also got to see the infamous Peanut the Goat as we passed by her farm!

Our final session of club began with what seemed like a typical nature walk. When we arrived at the outdoor classroom, a goodie box of snacks and drinks was waiting for the students to enjoy! We spent the rest of the session hanging out, eating, snack, and reflecting on our favorite parts of club this session. On the return trip, we were treated to a nice flyover flock of American Robins to end our club session!

Overall, we had a fantastic club season for Trailblazers Buddies Club! I want to send a very special thank you to James and Ethan, our Trailblazers Guides who helped spot wildlife and supervise the students. Also, thank you to BSES families for their continued support of Trailblazers!



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