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April 25, 2006
Contact: Scott Campbell, Kansas Biological Survey, (785) 864-1502.

KU staff, Westar Energy volunteers build new bridge at Fitch Nature Trail

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LAWRENCE — Kansas Biological Survey staff at the University of Kansas and volunteers from Westar Energy devoted several weekends this spring to constructing a pedestrian bridge for public use on the Fitch Nature Trail at the KU Field Station and Ecological Reserves.

A dozen volunteers from Westar’s “Green Team” and Survey staff completed the project April 1.

The 35-foot bridge is the culmination of a joint project that started in November and is one of several new improvements, including a 20- by 30-foot covered shelter, that will enhance accommodations for students and other visitors. The bridge spans a creek that bisects the Fitch Natural History Reservation. It will permit the field station to implement an ADA-accessible trail for disabled or young visitors, said Scott Campbell, associate director of the KU Field Station and Ecological Reserves and research associate with the Survey. It will also provide access to a new area of the Fitch Reservation, allowing for its greater use in teaching, public environmental education and field research activities.

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“We are very appreciative of Westar’s support and participation in helping us complete this valuable project and excited about the many new opportunities this new bridge will provide,” Campbell said.

The Westar Energy Green Team provided expertise, volunteer labor, heavy equipment and all of the materials for the bridge at no cost. Green Team volunteers came from as far away as Wichita to assist in the effort.

The Fitch Nature Trail is about four miles northeast of Lawrence on the Fitch Natural History Reservation. Faculty, students and others regularly use the reservation’s 590 acres for a variety of nature studies and long-term ecological research. For more information and driving directions to the Fitch Trail visit the KU Field Station and Ecological Reserves Web site: www.ksr.ku.edu.

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