Chestnut Ridge students exploring new ways to learn

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

Churchville-Chili teachers are taking advantage of the Chestnut Ridge Nature Center and its five hiking trails behind Chestnut Ridge Elementary School. 

Physical education teachers Brooke Elnicky and Greg Kincaid, along with Assistant Principal Jennifer Dixon, recently led their classes on mile-long hikes along the narrow trails through bushes, trees, grasses and flowers. 

Physical education teacher Greg Kincaid leads a group of kindergarteners on an adventure through the Nature Center.

“We’re trying to provide a greater variety of learning environments and opportunities for our students this year due to COVID-19,” Elnicky said. “We’ve been going outside as much as possible, into the playground and our ‘outdoor gymnasium.’ The Nature Center is a perfect addition for hiking and exploring.”

Hikers from the third grade class explore nearly a mile of trail through various trees and terrain.

Rules were laid out before entering the woods. Students learned safe hiking procedures, and were encouraged to respect the trail and not damage the plants or any animal or insect life. Everyone was reminded to stay healthy by social distancing and keeping their masks on.

Chestnut Ridge first graders are careful to stay on the trails and leave only footprints behind.

“We are definitely planning on heading out to the Nature Center more often during this school year,” Elnicky said. “We’ll want to take a look to see how the trails change with the different seasons.”

Fourth graders learned how to be safe and considerate hikers before entering the Nature Center.