RCEF & Trails for K12

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Trails for K12 is an ambitious initiative to offer creative, innovative, and effective outdoor learning spaces to every public school in Rockingham County by the end of 2024.


Traditionally outdoor classrooms are designed to be stationary places. Trails for K12 is all about movement through linear classrooms along thoughtfully designed trails on school campuses.


UNCG Moss Street Partnership School led the way with the trail opening on May 28, 2021 on their campus. Within 2 weeks of opening, every student attending classes had visited the trail at least once. 

Designing trails for school campuses take experience and special reflection. Gateways, signage, trail tread and width are just a few of the components to carefully consider when designing for schools.


School trails designed with intention and the involvement of educators serve as a structural framework for inspiration and possibilities to enhance the trail for students. Moss Street Learning Trail is fresh off the ribbon cutting opening and already the community members are becoming engaged with the trail. Public artist, Mary ED Ryan, recently visited the Moss Street School site with RCEF, RoundRock, and educators to offer cost-effective suggestions for public art connected to STEM learning objectives along the trails.

Joe Dexter, RCEF Program Manager; Tony McGee, RoundRock Design; Mary ED Ryan, Artist; Tina Chestnut, Moss St Principal; Katelyn McKinney, RCEF intern

Other schools queued up for Trails for K12 are Rockingham County High School (RCHS), Booker T. Washington Learning Center, and McMichael High School. Additional schools are expected to come on board in the second half of 2021.

At McMichael, the project will be a pathway included in a park-like learning setting with a primary focus of growing Elderberry for planting along the Dan, Smith, and Mayo rivers.

Katelyn McKinney, RCEF intern

Trails for K12 was conceived through a collaboration between RCEF and RoundRock Design. Project partners on various school campuses include PTOs, Rockingham County Schools, City of Reidsville, Dan River Basin Association, and Good Stewards of Rockingham.

If you would like to learn more about Trails for K12 or have a discussion for how to bring the initiative to your school - even if you are outside of Rockingham County, NC -  please reach out to us. We are very excited about this initiative and would be delighted to share what we've learned and to explore how we may be able to assist in a similar project for your school.