Happy trails again!

Published 8:03 pm Friday, October 21, 2022

After 80-plus hours of mud-bogging, back-breaking, hole-digging, woodcarving fun, Mia Johnson can say “Happy Trails” once again,

On Saturday, October 29, Mia, an Ambassador Girl Scout of Montgomery Troop 9327,   will host a ribbon cutting for the newly revitalized Troy University Trail at the Troy University Arboretum.

Following the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting, there will be trail walks, nature talks and opportunities to meet the team responsible for the trail’s restoration. The public is invited.

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The Trail Head is located at 101 Pell Avenue. The Trail is open to the public from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.

Mia’s Girl Scout Gold Award project is the culminating requirement in her pursuit for the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn.

Mia, a student at Booker T. Washington Magnet School in Montgomery, led an extensive project to enhance the Trail Walk, which included building new bridges, clearing and lining trail paths and installing new directional informational signs.

“Mia’s work to restore the Arboretum trail will ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for nature walks and education for years to come,” said Alvin Diamond, Ph.D., Professor and Arboretum director at Troy University.

Mia said the journey to the pinnacle of Girl Scouting has been a fun and educational experience in which she has learned to develop a plan and carry it out to the finish.

“I’ve learned woodworking skills and the importance of working together,” Mia said. “I’ve met new people who have helped bring this project together and I’ve had a great time doing something for the community.”

Mia said much of the brush had been cleared from the trails but parts of the trail had received water damage and the supports of two of the trail’s bridges had also been damaged and most of the signage has been lost or damaged.

Not have experience with sawing wood and routing, Mia turned to her grandfather for help.

“My grandpa is a good craftsman and he showed me how to cut wood with a saw and how to use a router,” she said. “The most difficult thing for me was making the trail signs and 20 were needed to mark the trails. Routing was not easy for me.  I had to learn.”

Each sign was marked with the trail name and an arrow. And, the signs were color-coded to correspond with the colored trail maps that are available to those who visit the arboretum.

In doing the Arboretum Trail Project, Mia said she met a lot of people who are committed to providing walking trails within urban areas for exercise, relaxation and emotional relief.

“I am excited about the Trail at the Arboretum and so appreciative of all those who made it possible,” Mia sad. “Earning Girl Scouting’s Gold Award is a goal of mine and it is very important to me.  I’ve been in Girl Scouts for 12 years and I’ve learned so much and done so many things that I would not have done otherwise. Now, many girls in my age group drop out of Girl Scouts, but I have enjoyed all my time in Girl Scouts and Scouting has taught me about leadership and about working with people and about doing your best, always. Girl Scouting will benefit me in many ways throughout my life.”

The Gold Award is the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts of the USA.

“Only five percent of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award,” said Lisa Harden, Troop 9327 Leader. “Mia’s selection of the Troy Arboretum Trail Walk underscores her passion for the environment and commitment to the preservation of nature for generations to come.”