A recent addition to Sawnee Mountain Preserve connects imagination with nature along the Fairy Trail.
The short path near the visitor center features whimsical forest fairy houses constructed from natural materials by local Girl Scout Troop No. 13730.
The pathway also includes steppingstones and a collection of nature objects for guests to build their own houses, said troop leader Pavan Funk.
“We’ve got bark and twigs and pine cones and things gathered for them to use,” Funk said. “It lets people kind of daydream and create.”
The scouts, who are in fifth grade, designed and set up the trail to earn their Bronze Award, the highest honor at the junior level, she said.
Eight of the nine troop members attend Brookwood Elementary and the other Whitlow Elementary.
The group wanted to make something that younger children could enjoy and all the members like doing arts and crafts, Funk said, so the trail combined those interests.
“It’s also a way to encourage people to get outdoors, enjoy nature and use their imaginations,” she said.
The project also follows one of the tenants of Girl Scout law, which is to use resources wisely, Funk said.
The fairy houses are built from natural materials, which are provided at the trail to prevent visitors from disturbing the forest by collecting on their own.
The troop debuted its creations at a grand opening event in April.
“The little kids really seemed to enjoy it a lot,” Funk said. “It was very sweet to see them walking along the trail and ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ every time they found a new steppingstone.”
Since the troop completed their houses, the fairy village has grown as hikers add to the trail, said Carrie Toth, program supervisor in Forsyth County parks’ outdoor division.
The fairy trail’s location had originally been selected by another group that planned to highlight native plants along the path, but that work was never completed, Toth said.
“So this was a great place to install the fairy trail,” she said. “Visitors love discovering the houses built by the scouts and other trail walkers.”
The trail will get plenty of enjoyment at the park, she said, as a theme for birthday parties and during summer camp, when children learn about habitats.