KUSA - About 80 students were evacuated by helicopters from Cal-Wood Education Center near Jamestown during the massive flooding in September. Sunday, they returned for the first time to rebuild trails they couldn't use one month ago.
"All these helicopters were in the sky," Louisville 5th grader Cameron Parker said.
The Fireside Elementary student was on a retreat to learn about nature with his classmates during the floods.
"Destruction, destruction," Parker said of the aftermath. "There were big holes everywhere."
Cal-Wood got an estimated 15 inches of rain.
"Seeing the land just being destroyed like that, it's just unreal," said Rafael Salgado, who runs the nonprofit site on 1,200 acres of land. "We got hammered."
The last group of students to see Cal-Wood was the first to return. The 5th graders, along with many of their parents, pushed wheelbarrows of dirt and covered trails damaged by flooding.
"There are some places where the trails are completely gone," Salgado said.
He says the nonprofit is suffering financially after the flooding, but he is excited to have so many schools express interest in volunteering.
The environmental education center hosts roughly 3,500 students a year.
"We thought Cal-Wood was such a cool place to be. It's the 5th grade field trip that everyone is like, 'Oh my gosh, Cal-Wood!' So, just coming up and helping them all with it, it feels good," Parker said.
The hope is to raise money and continue the rebuilding efforts, Salgado said. He wants Cal-Wood to be reopened for student visitors by January 2014.
(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)