MSSU students working to restore walking trail near campus

For Cline he is hoping to get his vision for the trails complete before he graduates next fall.
Trails Mssu

JOPLIN, Mo. – After stumbling upon the trails by the biology pond at Missouri Southern State University when he was a freshman, Jeremiah Cline decided he wanted to fix it up.

“Flash forward two or three years later, we had a memology class and you couldn’t even really walk on the trail or go anywhere, you couldn’t even see the trail because it was much more grown than it was before.”

So he reached out to his advisor about turning it into a service learning project.

“I have volunteers from other students and faculty going through for the trail clean up, trying to go through and turn it back into an outdoor classroom.”

More than 20 volunteers are working during a special trail cleanup day to remove invasive species, clear the pathways and help native plants grow again.

“This is a really unique location it’s a spring fed swamp so it’s a swamp that stays largely unfrozen in Missouri. So we’re a wetland 3 minutes from a classroom that lets us come out and see wetland animals, swamp and marsh habitat and things like that so it’s a really valuable resource” said Assistant Biology Professor David Penning.

Cline’s advisor, Penning, was skeptical at first, but now is excited to see everything coming together.

“Right now were planning an 18 month timeline but we plan to have the trail back and walkable by the end of the semester but a healthy ecosystem is going to be an ever fighting thing in today’s world.”

For Cline he is hoping to get his vision for the trails complete before he graduates next fall.

“Eventually I’d like to go through and put picnic tables and possibly a walk way for studying and make it a little more educational.”

There is an online fundraiser on the university’s website going for the project that has raised around a thousand dollars so far.

They also have an additional fundraiser happening later this month as well.