February 2014

Snow Footprints: What Will be Left Behind?

by Randy Ziegenfuss and Lynn Fuini-Hetten on February 8, 2014

photoSeveral weeks ago after one of our earlier snowfalls, I had the chance to take a walk and noticed something unusual.  After a snowfall and a gradual thaw, clear areas are generally ones in which someone has already traveled. You can view  tracks created on roads by multiple vehicles trekking to desired locations.  However, in this case and on this particular day, the snow around the walks had melted, and snow footprints appeared and stood out against the old, wet concrete.

As I continued to walk, I pondered the meaning behind these footprints.  I am sure the knowledgeable science teachers at Salisbury could explain to me why these footprints remained during the warm-up while other areas melted, but I got to thinking. What these footprints mean? Are they telling a story to the people who encounter them? Is there a message behind these footprints that will help Salisbury move along in our journey?  Here is what I think:

1)   Whoever took those steps formed a great deal of pressure.  It may have not been welcome at the time, and it certainly added strain to those accumulated snowflakes on the ground, but it created something lasting.

2)   Someone blazed a trail and left the footprints as evidence.  Although the path was a sidewalk, its snow covered-condition at the time would not have led one to think this path offered the ideal conditions for others to follow.

3)  Someone left his or her mark.  Although temperatures continued to rise and within several days all the snow would have melted, it was unique to see footprints created of snow instead of in the snow.

As I think about the work being done by those involved with the Salisbury Township School District Strategic Planning Committee and contemplate what we need to do as the adults charged with educating the children of the Salisbury community, I think about the powerful message of those footprints.  We need to continue to work to create something lasting, we need to blaze trails, and we need to leave our mark for the sake of our students and public education.  Conditions will continue to change in the future, and not always favorably.  Such would be the case of footprints left in the sand on the beach: wind, rain, surf could easily wipe the footprints away.

I say that we in Salisbury need to create footprints like those visible to me on that walk—a little pressure, some trail blazing, and evidence of leaving one’s mark—so that as conditions change, our footprints will still be seen and recognizable.