CONWAY, Ark. (October 17, 2012) - The Village at Hendrix will add nearly a mile of new crushed limestone gravel trails thanks to a $122,000 Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) trails grant.
The ADA-accessible trails, totaling nearly two miles in all, are a feature of the 18-acre Hendrix Creek Preserve (HCP), a collaborative project involving The Village at Hendrix, Southwestern Energy, environmental studies and biology faculty, environmental engineers, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. HCP has been dedicated to the City of Conway as a public park.
HCP provides storm water management to prevent flooding within a 500-acre watershed area. Through select native plantings and controlled stream flows, water leaves the environment cleaner than when it enters. The watershed also collects and retains storm events to recharge the local aquifers. Constructed wetlands promote nesting places for migratory birds, waterfowl, and fish. Additionally, the improved habitat functions as an outdoor classroom to encourage the study of the natural systems inherent in the HCP.
The new trails will start at the north end of The Village, connect to the existing boardwalk and continue to the Hendrix baseball field. The grant also supports the refurbishing of three existing trail bridges, pet waste stations and interpretive signage designed by Jay Miller, the parent of a Hendrix student.
The signage is very important to the trail's education mission, said Lydia Nash, a 2010 Hendrix graduate and development coordinator for The Village at Hendrix.
"A lot of kids don't really understand what a watershed is and why this one is so special," Nash said. "The signs will help students better understand how this system works, what type of species live here, the seasons, and how it cleanses the water as it goes in."
The new trails will also include nearly $7,000 of pecan trees, the class gift of the Class of 2007, Nash said.
The project, which started this week, will take about three months to complete.
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country's "Up and Coming" liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Feel about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.