Polk County Middle School’s Nature Navigators, members of the school’s hiking club, recently took part in the first hike of the school year.

Twenty sixth and seventh graders hiked several trails – known as the ICC Loop – located behind the Polk County Library in Columbus.

The hiking club is a joint effort between the middle school and the Polk County Parks and Recreation Department. Teacher sponsors are sixth grade science teacher Rowann Hoy and sixth grade curriculum support teacher Lucy Steppe.

Eli Smith, Trails Coordinator for Polk County Parks and Recreation, will be leading all hikes. The students met Smith for the first time on this hike and he talked with them about “Leave No Trace” principals.

Mark McCall, a Tryon Trail Trotter, was also present for this hike and gave the kids some great tips on trail etiquette.