FSI/ISB Service Learning: Building Trails

FSI Adventure Education students visited Industries for the Blind for sensitivity training prior to our trail-building project.  Jay Hardwig introduced different models of canes and students had the experience of using a cane to navigate while being blindfolded.  IFB folks shared their personal stories, including their individual preferences for either using guide dogs or canes.  
We also had the opportunity to tour Industries for the Blind’s plant floor, and the Mission Hospital Low Vision Center.


Read more about Industries for the Blind here:





The Adventure Education classes have not only been learning to navigate trails using maps and magnetic compasses; they’ve been learning to design and construct walking trails!  Our FSI campus trail now connects to the Hominy Creekside Classroom, and extends in an additional loop through the woods and back to the main trail.  Adventure Ed students built an ecologically sustainable trail designed to maintain the integrity of the landscape.  They learned how to eradicate invasive plants along the way, and will continue to monitor erosion along the banks of the creek in an on-going service learning project for our school community. Most classes and crews have made use of the outdoor classroom already!  The 8th grade Water Is Life Expedition, set to launch this spring, will definitely benefit from having easy access to Hominy Creek and a shady spot for stream ecology data collection, analysis, and field journal notes.

After visiting Industries for the Blind, and hearing about the real need for the blind and low-vision population of Asheville’s citizens to have safe places for walking and enjoying the natural world, FSI and IFB decided to collaborate in a trail-building project.  This learning experience involves innovative research, inquiry, design, and craftsmanship.

It’s great that we are neighbors just across Sardis Road!  We are able to do field work and on-site planning regularly.  After visiting IFB and learning through multi-sensory experiences, our students have a greater understanding of blindness.  We have several stages of this project scheduled, with visits back and forth between IFB and FSI.  For example:  FSI students will explore the IFB property to get a lay of the land and scope out possible trails to map.  IFB folks will come to walk our trail to give feedback and help us make improvements.  More to come as the trail-building gets underway!


See also:  Blind Side Program  https://fsinnovations.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/blind-side-program/














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