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Jeanne Kagle & Students Blaze New Trail

Publish Date: 9/16/2010


September 16, 2010

MANSFIELD, PA— At Spencer Crest Nature Center in Corning, NY, a new interpretive trail leads visitors through theSpencerCrest Nature Center world of microbes that is all around us.

“On the Trail of Microbes” was developed by Jeanne Kagle, associate professor of Biology at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, along with David Pindel, president of Spencer Crest Nature Center, Bridgett Walker, programming and public relations director at Spencer Crest, Adam Dunham, and members of Kagle’s Environmental Microbiology class at MU.

Winding along the existing trails of Spencer Crest, “On the Trail of Microbes” explores several habitats where the evidence of microbial activity can easily be observed by visitors. Site markers along the trail clearly identify the points of interest and the accompanying guide book available in the visitor center describes the processes occurring and types of microbes present at each site.

The origins of swamp gas, why soil smells like soil, and how microbes help humans genetically modify plants are just a few examples of the topics explored “On the Trail of Microbes.” Many of the photos and much of the text in the guide book was contributed by students of the Mansfield Biology Department.

The new interpretive trail provides a unique opportunity for visitors to Spencer Crest. “This may be the only microbial interpretive trail outside of Yellowstone National Park,” Kagle said.

Kagle was inspired to make an interpretive trail after reading A Field Guide to Bacteria by Betsey Dexter Dyer (Cornell University Press, 2003). “This really is a very nice addition (to Spencer Crest), and something which is extremely unique,” Pindel said of the trail.

Spencer Crest Nature Center is located on Spencer Hill Road in Corning, NY and the visitor center is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Trails are open dawn until dusk.

For more information, go to SpencerCrest.org or contact Kagle at jkagle@mansfield.edu

Anyone who does hike the trails can provide feedback through the survey on the Spencer Crest website.
 


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