Service Learning Academy finishes Zilker Nature Preserve Project

After two months of hard and diligent work, the Service Learning Academy Crew finally wrapped up an epic trail project within the Zilker Nature Preserve.  The students had the opportunity to learn new technical skills including masonry, stonework, and basic trail maintence while improving a beautiful park in Austin.

The project was funded by a generous grant awarded to the Preserve, providing the trail with many enhancements to its use, features and enjoyment by those who hike the trail. Located right outside the Zilker Nature and Science Center off Barton Springs road, the preserve is several acres of secluded wilderness that includes a diverse range of plant and animal species and the winding Medicine Wheel Creek, flowing through a scenic canyon after spring showers.

The work itself spanned simple trail maintenance to highly technical rock work. Several stair cases were built and involved planning and moving rocks weighing up to half a ton. One stair case deemed “Stairway to Heaven” by a student, took several weeks to complete.

The crew also had the opportunity to revamp an old Civilian Conservation Corps built in the 1930’s that leads to a magnificent lookout of downtown Austin. Though rumored haunted, the nearly vanished trail was brought back to life by the students and received many improvements, such as switchbacks, boxsteps, and waterbars to ease the adventurer up the often steep terrain of the path.

After a ceremony and celebration of the completion of the project, the Service Learning Academy has several fun projects to look forward to going into the future, including more stonework at Reimer’s Ranch and a trail in Big Bend National Park.

Get out and check out the trail this weekend before it’s too hot!

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