Maffra students are trail blazers

STUDENTS from Maffra Secondary College were at the launch of the Trailblazers Trail Project on Friday afternoon.

The students worked with community groups to maintain the Gippsland Plains Rail Trail while also researching historical sites.

The project has been declared a great success.

Several signs, researched, designed, and created by a group of year nine students, will be installed along the trail, with information on interesting sites and events from the area.

One of the students, Liam Ahchow said they spent two classes a week on the project.

“We researched, ourselves, all the information for the site about the places,” he said.

Another student, Michael Airey, said students journeyed to Melbourne to undertake research about historical places.

Their classmate, Adele O’Doherty, said they also had a day where they rode along the rail trail and identified all the places they had researched.

“That was really worthwhile,” she added.

Their teacher, library supervisor and chief researcher Jacinta Fleming, said she was proud of what the students had achieved.

She said as the exercise progressed, they really became enthused by the concept and all the history behind it.

Maffra Secondary College principal Adam Hogan agreed, adding that volunteering in the community was important.

“I think what’s fantastic about this project is that it links really closely with our values … from community to environment to learning they’re all encapsulated in this project,” he said.

Year sevens also joined in the fun, with an excursion to learn about the history of the area, as well as local plants and insects.

The Gippsland Plains Rail Trail management committee was thankful for the help, and encouraged the students to volunteer in the future.

Committee representative Helen Hoppner said that covering 67 kilometres of trail was hard work, and appreciated the support of Latrobe and Wellington shires.

“The history of this trail is absolutely important,” she said.

Gippsland East MLA Tim Bull said the volunteers’ work had produced wonderful results.

“I think you’ve got the rail trail in better nick than the road here behind us,” he said.

“I guarantee when you go back and visit this area, maybe even walk or cycle the trail, it will have that little bit of extra special significance.”