Tanque Verde High School group works to bring nature trail to life

High school group works to bring nature trail to life
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 5:43 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - A multiuse hiking trail is coming to Tucson thanks to a group of students at Tanque Verde High School.

The new trail, which will be 1 mile long, aims to get more people outside while giving teens a chance to study nature.

Otto Ross, who teaches the outdoor adventure class, said the students are working to develop this trail for hikers and mountain bikers.

“It’s been really cool to see it blossom beyond the outdoor adventure class. Our environmental science class has some projects they are going to do out here, our AP science class does as well.”

Ross said the students are doing more than just raking and trimming trees, but also designing the trail from start to finish. The students are also taking the environment into consideration as well, such as learning how to preserve the nature around the trail.

“They were well-versed before they got out here. It’s really exciting to see them putting all of that to use,” he said of teaching the students about the soil and plants in the area before beginning work.

Sophomore Eric Mortan and senior Marshall Sherman said this program has been vital to their high school experience. “It just gives a chance to see what we do have and what we don’t appreciate as much as we should,” Mortain said.

Sherman echoed those same thoughts saying, “I’ve always been connected with the outdoors. And it’s a great chance to connect my education with the outdoors club.”

Ross said he hopes students like Mortan and Marshall learn to value nature and remember this experience even after they graduate.

“You don’t protect something until you experience it and love it. So that’s been a big goal in the class for me is giving them meaningful experiences so they can connect with nature and learn to protect it as well,” he said.

Ross said the trail is expected to be open to the public in a couple of weeks.