Note: The following press release was contributed by the Saucon Valley Foundation for Educational Innovation.
The Saucon Valley Foundation for Educational Innovation (SVFEI) held a groundbreaking celebration for its nature trail on Friday, Sept. 6. The trail, which is slated to wind throughout the Environmental Education Center on the Saucon Valley School District campus (in Lower Saucon Township), will provide a powerful new learning environment for students.
“Our vision for the nature trail was to construct an innovative and creative outlet to immerse students beyond the walls of the classroom,” said Anne Baum (Co-Chair, SVFEI). “This program will help teachers breathe life into their science lessons and make them accessible to students like never before.”
The opening of the nature trail marks the beginning of Phase I of the SVFEI’s Environmental Education Center. As the program grows, the center will be used to educate students on protecting and preserving their world. Later phases of the project will include plantings of wetland flora and the construction of teaching pavilions for classes to be held on-site.
“The opportunity for our students to learn first-hand will serve as a pioneering and effective teaching tool for our faculty,” said Carl Atkinson (Assistant Superintendent, Saucon Valley schools). “Access to the Environmental Education Center will engage our students, enrich their learning experience and inspire a deeper enthusiasm for science.”
Students will study plant and animal life along the nature trail in a number of science classes, with teachers incorporating the Environmental Education Center into their lessons throughout the school year. The area will continue to grow as students plant native species of vegetation, transforming the area into a self-sustaining eco-system.
“This project will greatly supplement the learning experience for Saucon Valley students, and we are extremely grateful for IESI Bethlehem Landfill’s donation of the nature trail and its installation. We appreciate the support of IESI and our other corporate sponsors: Capital Blue Cross, PPL, Air Products and Majestic Realty,” said Lora Guito (Co-Chair, SVFEI). “Their involvement in the project has helped transform this vision into a reality.”
“Creating a positive impact through community initiatives such as the Environmental Education Center is part of being a good neighbor, and as a proud Lower Saucon business this involvement is of utmost importance to us,” said Sam Donato (District Manager, IESI Bethlehem Landfill). In addition to their sponsorship of the nature trail, IESI Bethlehem Landfill’s commitment to education includes scholarship support to local students over the past decade in excess of $100,000.
Guests at the groundbreaking ceremony also included Ron Horiszny and David Willard (Lower Saucon Township Council members); Dr. Sandra Fellin (Lower Saucon schools Superintendent); Jack Cahalan (Lower Saucon Township Manager); and students, faculty and board members from Saucon Valley schools.
The Environmental Education Center and the nature trail will be available for classroom integration immediately while construction continues.
Photo: Saucon Valley School District Assistant Superintendent Carl Atkinson addresses attendees gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking for the construction of a new educational nature trail on the Saucon Valley School District campus in Lower Saucon Township (contributed).