Trails Education Days Makes a Comeback for 2022
Trails Education Days returned to Wildwood Park April 25 to 28 after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the program is to instill youngsters with an appreciation and sense of stewardship of natural open space. It provides lessons on open space for Conejo Valley Unified School District 4th grade students every spring. The Trails Education Days program is sponsored by COSCA, the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, with support from COSTAC, the Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee, and COSF.
The 29th annual program brought 950 students, 40 teachers, more than 100 parents, and scores of volulnteers out for a beautiful day of hiking, along with fun, educational workshops.
Attendees experienced nature hikes in Wildwood Canyon followed by three workshops about park ranger careers, trail safety and courtesy, and indigenous birds and animals. Animal Actors of Hollywood displayed and described their tortoise, great horned owl, opossum, squirrels, and porcupine to the students. A band of mountain bikers, equestrians, and hikers with dogs enacted a skit to teach safety and courtesy lessons. The actors demonstrated what not to do on the trails, and the students enjoyed telling them what they did wrong. Beforehand, students watched a new entertaining educational video that is now posted to our website.
COSF board member and Trails Education Days coordinator Elayne Haggan commented, “When we began Trails Education Days in 1992, I couldn’t have imagined how successful the program would become. I’m told it’s the 4th graders’ favorite field trip. This year was especially meaningful after two dark years.”
Nearly 60 volunteers along with COSCA, National Park Service (NPS) and Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority (MRCA) Park Rangers contributed 800 hours to the planning, execution and follow-up for Trails Education Days this year. Without volunteers, the program could not exist. COSCA, COSTAC and COSF thank everyone who gave their time, energy and enthusiasm to make the program a success.
COSF also paid the expenses that were not covered by grants and fees.
Story by Joanie Reuben with contributions from Elayne Haggan and Steve Clark.