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Gold Award Highlight - Seanna

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Seanna - Trail Blazing and Hiking

1.       What was the name and purpose of your Gold Award project?

The name of my Gold Award is Trail Blazing and Hiking. The purpose of this project was to re-blaze two of the hiking trails around the Abbott Marshlands in Central New Jersey, making it easier and safer for hikers and locals to navigate through these trails. Along with blazing the trails, I also hosted a Hiking Day Workshop at the Tulpehaking Nature Center, near the Abbott Marshlands, in which I guided participants through the trails, teaching them hiking safety and how to read trail blazes.

2.       What sustainable impact did your Gold award project have on the community?

My project impacted the community positively as locals and hikers using the trails are now able to properly read and follow trail markers. Before initiating my project, the trails consisted of chipping and discolored paint trail markers that were placed incorrectly and were barely visible. It was hard to tell which trail you were on, as the colors on one trail would vary from yellow, orange, red, and white. By installing and correctly placing bright plastic trail markers, I was able to clearly distinguish the paths of these trails. The plastic trail markers are sustainable as they are screwed into the trees and will not lose their color. In the case of blaze breaking, I supplied the Tulpehaking Nature Center with extra blaze for repair. Overall, members and visitors of the community benefit from the new and bright trail blazes as they can easily distinguish which trail they are following and the path of each trail.

3.       What insights/takeaway did you gain from your project?

I learned a lot about leadership and working with local government agencies like the Tulpehaking Nature Center, Hamilton Historical Preservations Office, and Mercer County Parks Commission. To initiate my project, I needed approval to blaze the trails from multiple agencies as the Abbott Marshlands is a historical site. I had to coordinate with the Tulpehaking Nature Center to determine and approve where the markers would be placed along with determining a date to host my Hiking Day Workshop. Through this project, I was able to enhance my research organizational and finance skills.

4.       Anything else you’d like to share?

I would like to recognize the people and organizations that supported my project. I give a special thank you to the American Legion post of Robbinsville for their generous donation towards my project. I also give a special thanks you to Kelly Rypkema, Manager of the Tulpehaking Nature Center, who supported my project from the very beginning and stuck with me throughout the process. I would like to give special thanks to Karen Freundlich, my Girl Scout Advisor, who also supported me throughout my project. Finally, I give a special thank you to Cole Montplaisir, an Eagle Scout who assisted me in re-blazing the trails of the Abbott Marshlands.