Local Students Help Design and Build Nature Trail Expansion

Students from St. Thomas School in Medina, Wash., have been getting their hands dirty … literally … at Overlake Golf & Country Club (G&CC) in nearby Bellevue. As part of an ongoing partnership with the club, students designed an expansion for Overlake G&CC’s nature trail, and will work on the trail’s construction in May.

Last year Overlake built a nature trail on the golf course and now hosts field trips that use the course as an outdoor learning lab. Students and teachers explore topics such as plant identification, plant science, water testing, wildlife and habitat management, planting of native plant species and environmental artwork.

Overlake is expanding the trail to accommodate a larger number of students. The new area is also more heavily wooded to allow students to experience more features of the environment.
Students created all the designs for the trail-expansion project. Requirements included highlighting specific plants/trees in the area, providing an area for benches, and making room for a butterfly garden. The students created six different designs and selected one. The plan included identifying and measuring the new area to ensure it fit seamlessly with the original trail.

The students will be engaged in all steps required for the trail’s completion, and Overlake’s maintenance crew will supply help in between visits to put the “final touches” of each stage. Aside from the assistance of a couple staff members, the students will be performing much of the work on the property.

Marcus Harness, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, says, “The students did a great job with their designs and we are very excited to work on the build phase of the project with them.”

The project schedule is:

Flagging/Painting of the Nature Trail Layout
Tuesday, May 8th – 1:20 – 2:40 pm
Thursday, May 10th – 11:20 – 12:40 pm

Clearing the Trail
Tuesday, May 15th – 1:20 – 2:40 pm
Thursday, May 17th – 11:20 – 12:40 pm

Leveling Problem Areas on Trail
Tuesday, May 22nd – 1:20 – 2:40 pm

Spreading Bark on Trail
Wednesday, May 23rd – 2:20 – 3:00 pm

As a member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for golf courses, Overlake is committed to documenting and expanding their environmental efforts for the benefit of people, wildlife and the game of golf.

In addition to seeking certification from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, Overlake has been accepted into the 2012 First Green program. First Green is a not-for-profit organization that uses golf courses as environmental learning labs. Through First Green, local golf course superintendents host students on field trips where they test water quality, collect soil samples, identify plants, design plantings, assist in stream bed restoration and become involved in the ecology and environmental aspects of the golf course. The students are also introduced to many other aspects of golf.

For more information about Overlake Golf & Country Club, VISIT

For more information about the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, visit

For more information about First Green, visit or call 425/746-0809. The media contacts are Cathy Relyea email or call 425/373-9915 (office) or Jeff Shelley, email or call 206/522-6981.

For editorial information, contact Assistant Golf Course Superintendent Marcus Harness, email or call 206/550-7937.

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