Trails.ie is a website full of resources for teachers who wish to use the local environment to develop a trail for pupils to explore. The website itself explains that, “A trail is an organised or structured walk for the purpose of observing and exploring different aspects of the built and natural environment. It focuses on specific points of interest so that a field study is engaging and beneficial to pupils and teachers”. A trail is activity based and can be relevant to any area of education. Topics may include Environmental Studies, History, Geography, Science, Mathematics, Technology and the Arts.
The site details the main aims and skills that are developed by using a trail as an educational methodology. It shows how to compile a trail, how to choose a route and things to take note of. It shows how to vary the different types of questions used in the trail as well as safety issues that need to be taken into consideration. However, the great thing about the site is that it provides the teacher with lots of resources to put a trail together. It provides graphics on stops, senses, activities and directions to be used when putting the document together. There are samples and templates of trails to view and there is also a trail builder which the teacher can use to put their own trail together. Videos are also used throughout the site to demonstrate different aspects of the trails process. All in all, this site is well worth a visit if you are putting together a trail in your local environment.
(There is an Irish version of this site www.rianta.ie but it does not appear to be working at the moment.)