Trailblazers Club Conserves Nature, Appreciates Outdoors


photo courtesy of Jason Ronnel

Leading the way: Members of the Trailblazers club aim to preserve the natural world around them by taking time to work outdoors.

Ian Fendley, staff writer

There’s a new club on the block this year at Central, and its mission is simple; protect, serve, and clean the outdoors.

The Trailblazers Club had a simple beginning. Founding member senior Jason Ronnel made a connection with Matt Frient, the head coordinator at the Ranch North Woods preserve. Frient works with The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas, a nonprofit organization that has worked with partners to conserve over 30,000 acres of forests, woodlands, prairies, caves and dozens of river miles.

“Matt is a really nice guy who you can tell really cares about what he’s doing. It’s so cool that he’ll take any and every volunteer he can get to help out, and he loves educating and helping out people who are new to the organization,” Jason said.

During the summer, Jason would round up a few friends every few Saturday mornings and meet Matt at the Ranch North Woods Nature Preserve in west Little Rock to do all kinds of trail work from cleaning up trash, to hauling mulch, to even blazing completely new trails. Jason and his friends became more and more involved with the Conservancy, so when school came around, all he had to do was get a sponsor and principal Nancy Rousseau’s approval.

“It’s a great way to get volunteer hours, and I also really like the outdoors, so it’s a win win,” senior Marret Lineberry said.

The club has been moderately successful for it’s first year. It has gained about 25 members, most of them seniors, and they have had few meetings at the Ranch North Woods Preserve and at Pinnacle Mountain State Park.

“A lot of the members are seniors, which is good because all of them are my friends, but I’m worried that the club won’t continue after I leave,” Jason said.

That being said, Jason wants to spread the word about the club, so that one day it may turn into a staple of Central.