Environmental Factor, April 2005, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Walking the Walk: A Self-Guided Nature Trail
NIEHS now has its own self-guided nature trail. The trail, which follows a path around the lake NIEHS shares with the Environmental Protection Agency, has a total of 15 markers that correlate to information in a new NIEHS brochure - hence, the self-guided tour.
The trail leads around the man-made lake that serves as a collection basin for
rainwater along the flood plain of Burden Creek, which feeds the lake. The tour provides a crash course NIEHS history, too. For example:
The lake was shaped as NIEHS was built.
- Soil taken from the lake location was used as fill in the construction process.
- After the lake stabilized, it was stocked with fish, including crappie, large-mouth bass, hybrid striped bass and catfish.
- It is now home to turtles, Canada geese, Mallard ducks, American Coots, Great Blue Heron, and King Fisher. It is seasonally inhabited by ruddy ducks and the rare black ducks as well.
Maps for the self-guided tour are available on the NIEHS side of the lake near the Memorial Garden, which, as explained in the brochure, is an area dedicated to deceased NIEHS employees. It contains both native and imported plants.
The trail meanders around the 27-acre lake, each point on the map providing information about native plants, animal life and habitat, or history.
Dick Sloane, the recycling coordinator at NIEHS, along with Colleen Anna, Bill Willis and Mitch Williams created the brochure.
Sloane has applied to the North Carolina National Wildlife Federation for certification under the Wildlife and Industry Together program, citing the nature trail as an education enhancement.
More information about the self-guided tour, including the new brochure, will be available at the Earth Day displays on April 21.