On the Saint Francis Nature Trail, the scent of pine, the sight of wildflowers, or the beauty of a fall foliage display are among the new, delightful sensory experiences to be enjoyed by adults and children served at McGuire Memorial.
It is a place where many have been able to touch a tree, smell a wildflower, or witness a squirrel scamper through the woods for the first time in their lives.
Nestled directly behind McGuire Memorial’s main campus, the Saint Francis Nature Trail, which is 1/10-mile long, winds its way through a landscaped, wooded, preserve. It features a pine grove, wildflowers, birdfeeders, and an array of plants and trees indigenous to Western Pennsylvania. Along the trail are two decks, each approximately 30 feet by 30 feet – large enough to accommodate several individuals in wheelchairs at a time.
Capuchin Franciscan Father William Gillum, Director of Pastoral Care at McGuire Memorial, who first envisioned the idea for a nature trail and later coordinated construction of the trail, says “I have watched children and adults alike at McGuire enjoy the sensation of touching or seeing the morning dew as it covers the grass, or the texture of a tree’s trunk. I witness their palpable joy when we see deer nearby in the woods. We are bringing nature and God’s created world to the people of McGuire Memorial.”
“It is not only a living classroom where those at McGuire learn about and experience nature,” says Sister Thaddeus Markelewicz, President and CEO of McGuire Memorial, “but it’s also a wonderful venue where McGuire families can spend time with their loved ones, enjoying the spectacular beauty of our surroundings.”