Trail Links to Bible and Native American History

Apr 15, 2024 | Stories from the Diocese

A Daisy Scout shows the leaf of a Red Maple tree her Troop marked for St. Peter’s Trees of the Bible Trail – Courtesy Photos

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church recently opened a “Trees of the Bible” walking trail.

St. Peter’s Rector, The Very Rev. Rodney E. Gordon said the trail allows walkers to explore the natural beauty of the area while learning about the significance of its trees in both the Bible and American history.

The trail is the idea and work of the Daisies of Girl Scout Troop 1278 at St. Peter’s as part of their Outdoor Journey Take Action Project, Gordon said.

“They found trees mentioned in the Bible that we have on Saint Peter’s green,” Gordon said. Their idea was to create signs so that one can walk from tree to tree and read information about how the trees have been used by our native American siblings. The signs also have a Bible verse where that tree is mentioned in scripture.”

Several parishioners with backgrounds in horticulture, forestry, and social media helped the Girl Scouts with the research and the writing and creating QR Codes for each tree, Gordon said.

Construction of the trail began soon after St. Peter’s historic church building was destroyed by fire on December 19, 2023.

Daisy Scout Leader Christina Gruszecki said she, the daisies, and their parents were “super excited about this project.”

“These Girl Scout Outdoor Journey Take Action projects are a great opportunity for the girls,” she said.


“They actually conceived of, planned, and then presented their ideas to the committee at the church. And it was an opportunity for them to practice their leadership skills to see the project to completion. They had a lot of fun doing it. So, it was a great, great success in my mind,” Gruszecki said.

Rev. Gordon said the trail has become a key part of the parish’s rebounding following the fire and a welcome boost to morale for members who continue to serve their community while rebuilding the 175-year-old church.

Easter flowers outside St. Peter’s Episcopal Church – Courtesy Photo

“Our thrift shop proceeds continue to go back into the community in the form of emergency financial assistance for neighbors, other nonprofit groups within Westmoreland County and beyond, and for college scholarships” Gordon said. “And our once a month community meals ministry team still provides over 400 meals to our community, free of charge.”


“So, even though we did experience the fire. We have not stopped providing those ministries to the community,” he said.

The trail is an easily walked 0.16-mile loop that winds through St. Peter’s Green, Gordon said. Informational signs mark several tree species, each with its own story about how trees play a significant role in the Bible. There’s also information on how Native Americans and early American settlers used the trees for shelter, medicine, and food.

A Daisy Scout hammers a sign stake with help from her mother – Courtesy Photo

Among the trees on the trail are Loblolly Pine, White Oak, American Holly, and Eastern Red Maple.

The parish and its Daisy Scouts plan to add additional trees and shrubs that are mentioned in the Bible, Gruszecki said.

“I’m so proud of the girls and where this journey has taken us. We learned a lot that we can now share back with the church and the community. The trail gives us an opportunity to exercise our mind, body, and spirit! It’s a unique way to share and experience the word of God and I’m excited about that,” she said.

Gruszecki’s daughter Olivia said she “loved doing this with my mom and the other girls. We hammered the signs in and got to use a drill. I’d love to do more stuff like this!”

Learn more about St. Peter’s Trees of the Bible Walking Trail.