LONDONDERRY — Jackie Bergeron loves to meander on the trail near her school.
The North Elementary School fifth-grader was among a group of students participating in the recent kick-off celebration of a new self-guided tour of natural and historical points of interest on a segment of town trail system off Sanborn Road.
The new “Nature on the Trail” program gives trail enthusiasts a chance to walk a portion of the trail and stop at various wooden posts where a QR code is available. It offers links to pertinent information about the trail among other local history.
“Last week we took a group out on the trail,” Jackie said. “I think the rail trail people want North School to be part of the rail trail. They tell us things about how to recognize poison ivy and trees.”
Londonderry Trailways officials, Conservation Commission members and other supporters gathered with the children on the trail Sept. 28 to introduce the program.
Trail supporters offered some history of the trail system in town, then showed students how to use their phones to scan the specific QR code on 29 posts.
Once scanned, links will appear to direct users to the town’s online sites with information.
“And the more you know about the land, the more you’ll care for it,” said Mike Speltz, a member of the Conservation Commission.
Information to be used on future sign posts along parts of the trail is also welcome, trail supporters said.
Being out and about in nature is nothing new at North School.
The school has a longstanding tradition of exposing students to the natural world very close to their classrooms.
The school’s Nutfield Trail was created by former students, staff and volunteers.
During subsequent years, other North Elementary classes continued on to extend the trail, building and labeling more trees and areas, and organizing curriculum work in math and science. Boy Scouts from the community came to the trail to work on Eagle Scout projects.
The trail is labeled and also includes an outdoor classroom area with benches so students can sit and learn more. There are also several bridges over the trails, bird and bat houses and a vernal pool.
Having a segment of the town trail system right near the school is an added bonus.
Principal Paul Dutton said having the trail so close boosts what the students learn in the classroom.
“It’s wonderful, having an opportunity for students and staff to get involved to access the educational component,” he said. “And it’s right in our own front yard.”
Dutton went on to tell students they were the new pioneers, exploring nature in and around their school.
Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith told students and others when he was growing up in Londonderry, there was no town trail.
“It was an old rail bed,” Smith said, giving credit to all the volunteers and supporters that work to bring the trail system to town.
When the trail is all done and paved, it will stretch more than six miles from the border with Derry up to Manchester.