HagerSmith Design PA and Friends of Hemlock Bluffs blaze trail to educate youth

HagerSmith Design PA and Friends of Hemlock Bluffs blaze trail to educate youth

HagerSmith Design PA is an architecture design firm in Raleigh, NC that specializes in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, and Historic Preservation. HagerSmith Design is a great asset to our community and has volunteered for many local organization—including the Boy Scouts of America, DHIC of Raleigh, and the Raleigh Catholic Diocese—by providing pro bono work. Recently, HagerSmith Design volunteered their expertise to help another organization: the Friends of Hemlock Bluffs.

HagerSmith Design Hemlock Bluffs

The Friends of Hemlock Bluffs is a nonprofit that is dedicated to supporting Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary, NC. Hemlock Bluffs is looking to create a new trail, a Children’s Exploration Trail that “will allow [Hemlock Bluffs] to expand our environmental education and help future generations learn and appreciate nature,” according to Laura White, a Nature Center Supervisor at Hemlock Bluffs.

As White explains, “the overall idea is to develop a space where toddlers, preschool and young elementary age children, and their parents can explore nature along a trail in a safe and hazard free environment. The goal of this trail is to encourage parent and child relationships as they enjoy nature together.”

HagerSmith Design Hemlock BluffsFriends of Hemlock Bluffs hoped to create this trail, but lacked access to the professional landscape architect expertise needed to achieve their vision. That’s where Activate Good came in, connecting Friends of Hemlock Bluffs with talent from HagerSmith Design PA.

The HagerSmith Design team – Jamie Loyack, Vice President/Principle Landscape Architect, Jimmy Thiem, Vice President/Principle, and Sarah Troutman, LEED AP Vice President & Interior Design Group Manager – buddied up with the Friends of Hemlock Bluffs to envision the trail. Using their enthusiasm, creativity and expertise, they concocted a great design.

HagerSmith Design went above and beyond, developing multiple visions for the Hemlock Bluffs trail, according to Morgan Bosse, Customer Service Representative for the Stevens Nature Center at Hemlock Bluffs. “There was a design for the area that we had originally looked at for the trail, but also a second design for an area that they noticed during their visit to the site. This was unexpected and greatly appreciated.”

Like most volunteering, the project was mutually rewarding. “[Hemlock Bluffs] is a wonderfully preserved nature resource that serves as a great natural learning environment for children of all ages to learn and explore,” says Loyack.

HagerSmith Design team plans to assist in completing the trail plan for Hemlock Bluffs after funding is acquired for its construction.

For nonprofits, this type of pro bono and skills-based volunteering is more important than ever. The 2009 Volunteer IMPACT Survey by Deloitte found that 95% of nonprofits feel that they are in greater need of skills-based volunteers and pro bono work. The Children’s Exploration Trail at Hemlock Bluffs is one step closer to opening due to the enthusiasm, creativity, and expertise of the HagerSmith Design team.

Have a special skill to lend a great local cause? Check out these other volunteer opportunities that need your skills.