Albion service-learning projects include restoring nature trail, building Little Free Libraries

Photos courtesy of Albion Central School: A third-grader works on painting a Little Free Library, one of three that will be at the school district.

Posted 29 June 2021 at 11:41 am

Press Release, Albion Central School

ALBION – As the school year was wrapping up, so too did three service-learning projects in Ronald L. Sodoma Elementary School.

Melody Vanacore, Sarah Jones, and Kyle Syck were in charge of creating Little Free Libraries, Amanda Flagler and her students researched birds and created birdhouses for the nature trail, and finally Kyle Syck and Eric Johns have been working on maintaining the nature trail.

The Little Free Libraries were created from recycled materials by Mr. Syck’s high school woodworking class. Syck, Jones, and Vanacore planned what the libraries would look like and what they would need, sourcing the materials from leftover pieces of other projects. Third-graders then painted the libraries and helped to fill them with donations from the community and the school.

One of the libraries will be outside the Elementary School by the second grade door, one outside the school’s East Gym, and one on the nature trail.

A student in Mr. Kyle Syck’s class works on the nature trail.

The nature trail is currently being maintained as part of a second service-learning project by Mr. Syck, Mr. Johns, Elementary School Assistant Principal Kevin Beaumont, and some high school students. This is phase one of a progressive project which will take years to complete. The students and staff have worked on widening the trail, putting down wood chips, and have removed trees, rocks and other debris from the trail.

According to Mr. Syck, in addition to the community using the trail, the Purple Eagle Cross Country team uses the trail for practice and mentioned that they would sometimes trip due to it being uneven and tripping hazards for the runners. Seeking a solution, Mr. Syck and his students reached out to potential donors for truckloads of wood chips. While they waited for the donations, Albion FFA donated bales of hay to put down before the chips. Moving forward, Mr. Syck says he and Mr. Johns plan to add identification signs for some of the trees lining the trail.

These students and teacher Amanda Flagler created birdhouses for the nature trail.

In addition to a Little Free Library being placed along the nature trail, Mrs. Flagler’s fourth-graders have hung bird feeders along a mile of the circuit. The students researched local birds that frequent the woods and worked on painting and decorating the birdhouses. Mrs. LeBaron’s class joined Mrs. Flagler’s students as they placed the houses and helped to identify any birds they saw along the way.

Every year, the district asks our new teachers to complete a service-learning project before they are able to get approved for tenure. All of these projects are sponsored and coordinated by Albion Central School District’s Service-Learning program.

These students work on the Little Free Library project.