This month, twelve 7th grade boys from the French Broad River Academy (FBRA) volunteered at our Community Farm. We are grateful for assistance from these positive, hard-working students! Service learning is a vital piece of the FBRA curriculum, and they partner with us several times a year to help out with various projects at the Community Farm.
We had a challenge for the student volunteers: we needed to re-grade an erosion-prone section of the Discovery Trail and build a retaining wall on the up-slope side. The boys got to work right away, with half of them using tools to carve out a small wall and re-grade the dirt along the trail. The other half teamed up to carry logs for the wall as our farm manager, Chris, felled and bucked a few already-dead trees on the property.
Once the digging and grading were mostly done, the boys began to take turns setting logs in place along the wall, and using a post-driver and hammer to drive in rebar to hold the logs. Others helped back-fill the top of the wall with the dirt they had removed earlier.
In the end, they completed the entire sensitive area–roughly 60 feet of trail — and had a beautiful retaining wall to be proud of. This was a labor-intensive project, but the boys worked hard and got the job done. The wall will help mitigate erosion of the trail within the stream restoration area, minimizing sedimentation of a stream whose water eventually flows into the French Broad River.
The boys do clean-ups and learn paddling skills throughout the year on the French Broad, so they were able to see how a project like this can directly affect water quality and their experiences down-stream.
Thanks so much for your hard work, FBRA boys—we look forward to working with you guys again!