Beyond the Trail: A Walk Through History

Come explore the largest urban park system in the United States!

Network with Northeast Florida environmental professionals and leaders!

 Learn about the history and culture that dates back over 10,000 years!

Make new friends on campus and within the community!

Through the Environmental Center’s “Environmental Leadership Program,” in 2016, student project leader Renee Hutchins created the original “Beyond the Trail: A Park Discovery.” She wanted to know more about how parks were managed and operated because her passion was to work for the national parks. Renee created four park events that partnered UNF students and community members. Park rangers from the national, state and city parks shared the “back office” stories of how each park system was managed and the unique challenges each faced.

In 2017, student project leader Kaley Crawford took the helm of the next series and because of her passion for history, she created “Beyond the Trail: A Walk Through History.”

“The speakers were very knowledgeable and it was unique to have such a wonderful history lesson at the very spot where the history occurred. It was a valuable out-of-classroom learning experience.”

One of the highlights was a private tour of the first designated archeological site in Northeast Florida, which is currently closed to the public. They learned this site dated back to 2000 A.D., which consisted of a large shell ring built by the Timucua Indians. It served as their “ancient landfill,” consisting of shells, animal bones and served as a human burial pit.

Group photo
The 2016-17 Beyond the Trail group at Fort Caroline National Memorial.
Student volunteers
Students participating in a service project at Camp Milton Historic Preserve.
Students hiking
Participants hiking to the shell ring on Big Talbot Island.

2017-2018 promises to be another fun-filled, unique experience for UNF students and community members! Project leader Brandie Brooks series, “Beyond the Trail: The Art of Science” is combining art and science that will get both the right and left brain working together. This year, participants will create a group art project made out of recycled items found during various cleanups and the other community service projects throughout the series. She is even bringing the past “alive” with a walk and talk by William Bartram, followed by a kayak paddle on the Julington-Durbin Creek!

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