The members of the Root River Rabbits 4-H club of Chatfield will be working together and utilizing grant dollars to provide hikers a place to relax and rest on the Lost Creek Hiking Trail.

Leader Heather Hopp explained that the club received a $500 grant from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation to build benches for hikers who use the six-mile-long trail located just west of Chatfield.

"It's a grant from the Minnesota 4-H Foundation, and it's given to about 30 clubs a year," Hopp specified.

She elaborated on the grant's specifications and requirements, noting that the club had to apply for the funds. "We were told that if there was interest in the club, we should apply, so we brought it up, and one family in the club spearheaded the project."

Hopp said the family that brought up the idea for building benches on the trail uses it a lot and felt the project was close to the community. Because the club has a lot of kids, their many helping hands could be utilized and make a project like this become a reality.

"The grant is really based on youth involvement - what the youth get out of the hands-on learning, the experiences they have and the improvements they make, what they learn to succeed in life," Hopp continued. "The grant is based on what you apply for, how the youth are involved and how the community benefits."

She elaborated that the club members decided to apply for the grant in January and found out in March that the club had been awarded money for their project.

"We decided to make it a fall project because of the fair coming up," Hopp said about the club members' busy days ahead preparing for the Fillmore County Fair, which runs July 23 to 27.

"Right now, the Bluff Country Hiking Club board members are coming up with a design that the kids can build, something simple that will look nice on the trail, and numerous adults have stepped up to help," she stated. "We're going to get materials, build the benches, then secure them on the trail...if we can put a couple benches on the trail, they'll be nice for people who are hiking and enjoying them. It's going to be a good project. The kids are looking forward to it."

Hopp said the club hopes to have the benches on the trail before winter, then they will need to fill out an evaluation form of what the kids learned to round out the grant process.

The Bluff Country Hiking Club's Lost Creek Hiking Trail crosses hills, valleys, cow pastures, woods and prairie, and volunteerism such as the Rabbits' is welcome.

For more information on the trail or the hiking club, log onto www.bluffcountryhikingclub.org, and for more information on the Root River Rabbits 4-H Club, contact Heather Hopp at (507) 867-4152.