On March 29th, EcoReach volunteered at Hilsman Middle School’s Family Science Night.
Our volunteers spent the evening speaking with students, their families, and members of ACC community about EcoReach’s mission statement, our recent events, as well as the charismatic gopher tortoise and armadillo. Only one species of armadillo lives in GA, the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). Gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) live in longleaf pine habitat in the southeast, along with many other vertebrate animals such as striped newt, indigo snake, flatwoods salamander, gopher frog, southern hognose snake, and eastern diamond‐backed rattlesnake. The gopher tortoise makes burrows which also provide shelter to many longleaf pine species, and the gopher tortoise is an important keystone species. Without a keystone species, its ecosystem and inhabitants would be drastically different, or even disappear in some cases.
The visitors at Family Science Night enjoyed their time measuring replicas of these critters and learning about their native habitats in Georgia.