COVINGTON -- Now that spring has fully sprung, it's the perfect time to get out and enjoy nature's beauty.
Newton County Trail-Path Foundation Inc. has launched Walk Abouts, a series of free excursions on local trails that will get under way at 10 a.m. Saturday on the Oxford Trail.
"I am constantly amazed by how many locals are either not aware of the Oxford Trail or just haven't made it out there," said Newton Trails Chairman Maurice Carter. "When I take the Covington Community Bike Ride along the trail, there's always someone experiencing it for the first time. They're usually impressed at how much natural beauty you can find in just a 1.2-mile path."
Two Walk Abouts have been scheduled for spring. For the first event, Dr. Eloise Carter, professor of biology at Oxford College, will guide participants on an exploration of native trees and shrubs. Carter is the past president of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, serves on the Plant Collection Committee of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Nature Conservancy.
Another Walk About is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at Oxford Trail. This one will be led by Greg Richardson and David Waller, who will take walkers on a bird-watching adventure.
For both events, participants will meet on the deck on the trail section behind Old Church in Oxford where Fletcher Street dead ends into Wesley Street. Additional outings will take place throughout the year with a variety of themes, including history, storytelling and ghost stories. Other local trails will also be featured.
For more information, visit www.newtontrails.
org or visit www.facebook.com/newtontrails.
In related news, Newton County Trail-Path Foundation is also offering yard signs stating "I (Heart) Trails" on its website. The signs cost $7.50 each and about 50 have been sold thus far, Carter said.
When opponents of the purchase of the Norfolk Southern rail line for a rails to trails project started erecting signs last fall, the idea of countering that with supportive signs didn't appeal to Carter at first, he said.
"They're not a conversation, they're not informative ... it's like shouting," he said. "Then one person did it on her own. She wasn't trying to start a movement, but she did it personally to express herself. I posted it on Facebook and we got 20 or 30 people on Facebook who said, 'I want one. I feel like I don't get counted. People only see one side of the story.' So we tried to consider the issues and tried to make it general, not just about the railroad and tried to make it a positive message. We decided to give supporters the option if they want one."