Getting Branford Children Outdoors

During the final weeks of school, several groups of fifth grade students at Branford’s Francis Walsh Middle School had a chance to get out of the classroom, get some exercise, and learn about sights along the Shoreline Greenway Trail (SGT).Led by SGT volunteers and accompanied by their teachers, Dawn Corcoran and Robin Axtell, as well as several parents, groups of students walked along the section of trail paralleling Birch Road and part of the proposed section on the Tabor Property, west of Pine Orchard Road.

Along the way, they visited the Community Gardens, where they were given a tour by President Malaine Trecoske. There they learned about the kinds of flowers and food plants grown by residents as well as the “Seed, Weed, and Feed Garden,” the produce from which goes to the Community Dining Room. Crossing Pine Orchard Road, they walked along Chet’s Pond, learning about the history of the pond and the property and viewing an Osprey nest on top of the cell tower on the opposite side of the pond.

One of the student groups was lucky enough to spot the Osprey returning to its nest. The students also learned about, and got a distant view of, “Mount Trashmore,” the landfill that will soon be topped by a picnic area and gazebo. On the return hike, they saw an outdoor classroom, currently overgrown but soon to be cleared and restored to useful condition by a boy scout working on his Eagle Scout project.

SGT Volunteer Leo Cristofar led the students, ably assisted by SGT co-chairs Chet Blomquist and Judy Miller. Chet’s Pond was officially named by the Board of Selectmen to honor Mr Blomquist, a retired physical education teacher, for his many years of trail creation throughout the town.