Saturday, June 11, and Friday, June 17, at the Riddle Cabin was the place. Docents, new recruits and old-timers, gathered around the porcelain coffee pot, peach cobbler and earthquake cake to discuss the docent program at SFNC, its effectiveness and its possibilities. Eighteen docents are available to lead activities at SFNC.

Spring at South Fork has been an extraordinary experience for a record number of people: activities on the third Saturday of each month, groups of students from local schools, and walks were requested by several organizations. Forty junior and senior science students of Krissi Graham from Clinton High School were on hand all day for a Saturday experience, thirty students from Julie Nelson’s sixth grade class at South Side spent half a day, and fifteen gifted and talented Clinton students of Chris Box spent a day at the cabin learning as they walked the trails and heard about spinning and weaving cloth. .

Saturday and Friday’s docent training entailed an assessment of the current program as well as a review of the Docent Handbook noting procedures, plans, and the desired outcome for activities. Experience with hand lenses, microscopes, binoculars, and tree identification keys was gained; a walk taken along the trail noted new trail signs and painted identification stones. Signs gave pictures and text on birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians, plants, the Riddle Cabin, and ecology along the trail. A learning session at the bench circle (outdoor classroom) demonstrated how a group could use the benches for group learning and the appreciation of nature.

In anticipation of walks scheduled for the summer and fall, docents signed up for dates of activity; it is expected that fall school classes from Clinton as well as surrounding schools will take advantage of special outdoor activities planned for their needs during school hours as well as on Saturdays. Contact may be made through the Gates Rogers Foundation office in Clinton by contacting Kathy Sherwood (501-745-6444).