While completing her own journey on the Appalachian Trail, the Montgomery Area School District librarian has shared her passion for hiking with students.
Dianne McCormick decided about seven years ago that while she was hiking the Appalachian Trail she would give her students the opportunity to try their hands at it, as well.
"I am passionate about getting kids outside," she said.
Above, Montgomery Area School District second- through fifth-graders are shown on an Accelerated Reader Reward Field Trip in May at Peters Mountain Shelter, a Pennsylvania stop along the Appalachian Trail.
Previously serving as just the elementary school librarian, she taught a unit on hiking to students.
Then later in the year, those students who earned 150 points in the district's Accelerated Reader program could go with McCormick on a day-long hike.
McCormick said she takes second- through eighth-grade students with her on the seven-mile hike. After becoming the district librarian, she started having the middle school students go on their own hike, as well.
So far, she's had about 50 students go on the trip
The students follow hikers through blogs - online journals - that they keep during their travels.
On their hike, McCormick said the students leave "trail magic" - surprises left for hikers to find, such as water and candy bars in coolers.
"I'm just hoping to get them outside and give them a sense of being outside," she said.