Students and Community members revive an Enchanted Forest at Keister Elementary

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 11:49 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Students from W.H. Keister Elementary School, Industrial Design students from James Madison University and community members linked together to revive a nature trail at Keister Elementary. It is now known as the Enchanted Forest.

With areas like Adventure Avenue, Stump School, Fairy Forest, and more, the trail is a place where creativity, hard work, and learning collide.

Brooke Imber, a teacher at Keister, said this project started as an after-school club for 4th and 5th graders dedicated to restoring the overgrown trail.

“It wasn’t being used by teachers or students,” she said. “We re-established the trail, and we even doubled the trail. You’ll see when we get to the winding woods that did not exist last year. It was just woods and you couldn’t walk through it.”

Imber said the project was so big, they needed extra hands. That is where the community and JMU students got involved.

Audrey Barnes, an associate professor for Industrial Design at JMU, said their program is based on finding problems and “making stuff” to help solve them.

She said focusing on how individuals can make an impact locally can help make the big issues of the world more manageable. This project, for some, was a first step.

“We want them to know that they too have power. They have agency. They have self-worth and intrinsic value and they can take that value and change their own environment,” Barnes said.

With the ribbon cutting on Wednesday, the trail is available to the public at W.H. Keister Elementary.

Below is a shot sneak peak of what visitors can expect.

Keister Elementary Enchanted Forest