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Saranac teen aims to educate NLT visitors as part of Girl Scouts project

SARANAC - When traveling the trails of the New Land Trust, hikers now have tools to help educate them about the beauty that surrounds them.

Fourteen-year-old Hannah Racette has created interpretive signs and a brochure that educate visitors to the New Land Trust of the various species of trees that can be found on the trail system. Racette's endeavor was made in pursuit of her Silver Award as a member of Girl Scouts of Senior Troop 4111.

While Racette could have chosen any community service project in pursuit of her award, being a self-proclaimed "nature girl," she decided to work on a project that would get more people interested in the great outdoors.

"I go to the land trust a lot and I thought it would be a good idea for them to have a tree information trail," said Racette. "I wanted to learn more about the trees because I didn't know much about them before."

"Now, I can identify them and I can help other people to do that, too," she added.

Racette invested approximately 60 hours into the project, which only required 40 hours for her to be eligible for the Silver Award. The project required that much time, she said, because of the amount of research she had to do and for the work that went into designing the brochure. Racette even held a recyclable can and bottle drive to raise money for the brochure to be printed.

"That was a lot of work," she said. "I designed the brochure and went to a printer to have it professionally printed. That took a lot of time."

What took even longer was walking the trails to identify the trees, as well as clearing some trails along the way, said Racette, who credited help from her uncle, Steven Jenks, a forester and member of the New Land Trust, with the project.

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