‘It’s a good workout’
By: Caroline Frank
St. Louis Community College–Meramec is in close proximity to a variety of different parks to which its students can walk, bike or drive between classes. Among these parks are Dee Koestering Park, Laumeier Sculpture Park and Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center.
“I’m not from around here, but I have been to the Meramec Highlands Quarry [at Dee Koestering Park],” Meramec student Aaliyah Busch said. “I went there the other day.”
Busch said people shouldn’t go there if they don’t like nature.
“There’s a huge hiking trail that overlooks the quarry and big boulders,” Busch said. “It’s a really pretty place.”
The Meramec Highlands Quarry at Dee Koestering Park is 1.1 miles away from Meramec and is a 9.5 acre site. It consists of walking trails, an operation site and large rocks.
Laumeier Sculpture Park is another place near Meramec. It is 1.7 miles away and located right near the intersection of S Geyer Road. and Watson Road. Its mission is to “engage the community through art and nature” with what it has to offer according to the park’s website
“Yeah I’ve been to the Sculpture Park,” Meramec student Sam Terry said. He said he really enjoys the “huge, steep hill” called Cromlech Glen, but his favorite part is the Pool Complex at Orchard Valley.
“The empty pool is also cool,” Terry said. “I like it because it’s an abandoned and sort of destroyed pool with a newer and nicer wooden pavilion that you can walk on. It’s pretty sweet.”
The Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is another park near Meramec about 2.1 miles away. It is home to a variety of different plants, animals and nature center visitors.
The building inside has binoculars for bird watching, live snake exhibits, a beehive, a 3,000 gallon aquarium, and other viewing areas for watching wildlife. There is also a native plant garden where people can go and learn how to garden. Lastly, there are plenty of hiking trails for park-goers.
“The trails can be steep at times but for the most part they are flat,” Meramec student Ryan Stanger said. “There is a small creek next to a trail that runs in the summer… All of the nature is great and very calm; it’s just super quiet and relaxing there.”
He also said the grounds are clean and well-maintained. “It’s a really good place to take a nice walk,” Stanger said.
Stanger said hiking is similar to playing a sport. “It’s a good workout, but more importantly it can make someone get into a different state of mind if they’re passionate about it.”