EcoReach participated in its first event of the 2017-2018 school year at the Winterville Library End of Summer Reading Program (ERSP) Party. The library event was held in order to honor students that participated in the Summer Reading Program. As part of the event, EcoReach provided two hands-on, ecology-related activities that fit in with the theme of the Summer Reading Program, Build a Better World. For the first activity, students created bird feeders out of recycled egg cartons and also learned about local birds. For the second activity, students learned about the water cycle by creating a water cycle bracelet. We had a great time interacting with the Winterville community and look forward to more events there in the future!

Kelsey modeling the water cycle bracelet with her new friend.
Caitlin showing off her bird feeder.
Making bird feeders!


EcoReach ended the 2016-2017 academic year with lots of fun events!

In early March, EcoReach volunteers visited Cleveland Roads Elementary School for Career Day. The students at Cleveland Roads learned all about what it’s like to be a freshwater ecologist, conducted a practice stream bioassessment, even got to see some stream macroinvertebrates up close!

Students working on stream bioassessment activity with EcoReach volunteer, Nate.

In mid-March, one of our volunteers, Reed Solly, visited Cedar Shoals High School to represent EcoReach for the school’s Environmental Fair. Students at Cedar Shoals learned about small decisions that they can make each day to help protect our planet.

In late March, we took the Owl Pellet dissection activity to the Oglethorpe Branch of the Athens-Clarke Country (ACC) library system. Students were excited to learn about predator traits and trophic dynamics through dissecting owl pellets!

Finally, in early April, we conducted our second activity at the Athens Branch of the ACC library system. This activity was all about disease! Students learned about what causes diseases, how diseases spread, and and how we can prevent the spread of diseases through interactive activities using glo-germ and disease spreading simulations.

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Students at the ACC-Athens library after the conclusion of the disease activity.


Building a Rain Garden at Stroud Elementary School

Last semester, EcoReach presented two lessons on water quality to Howard B. Stroud Elementary School’s problem-solving class. In order to improve water quality in a nearby stream to the school, Trail Creek, students in the class decided that they wanted to install a rain garden on Stroud’s campus. The rain garden will have two purposes. First, the rain garden will decrease the amount of stormwater runoff to Trail Creek during rain events by promoting infiltration of the runoff into the ground. Second, by promoting infiltration, the contaminants in the stormwater runoff can be filtered out naturally.

Last Thursday, EcoReach volunteers were able to assist the students and staff of Stroud in building a rain garden near the entrance of the school. It was a beautiful day to get outside and do some gardening! EcoReachers had a blast teaching the students gardening skills. We are so proud of the students at Stroud for taking direct action and helping to improve the water quality of Athens streams! We are excited to work more with Stroud students in the future.


Career Presentation at Starling Elementary School

Last Monday, March 27th, EcoReachers Kaylee Hasina and Emily Johnson traveled to Grayson, Georgia, to give a presentation to the Green Team students at Starling Elementary School. Kaylee and Emily talked to the students about the importance of ecology and different career options within the field of ecology. Kaylee and Emily were even able to share some pictures and stories about their own work in ecology! The students had a great time learning about careers in ecology.

Boy Scout Merit Badge Day

Last Saturday, February 25th, EcoReach participated in the Boy Scout Advance-a-Rama held on the UGA’s campus. Advance-a-Rama is an opportunity for Boy Scouts to earn one of over fifteen merit badges all in a single day. Advance-a-Rama occurs twice a year and has been held in Athens for over thirty years. Professors, students, and members of the Athens community teach classes specifically designed for Boy Scouts, such as Swimming, Fly-fishing, Personal Fitness, Law, and more.

For the third year in a row, EcoReach hosted the Environmental Science Merit Badge for Advance-a-Rama.  Over the course of the day, the Scouts learned about a wide range of issues in environmental science, including: the history of environmental science, environmental science terminology, types of pollution, erosion, pollination, environmental impact statements, conservation, and careers in environmental science. One of the highlights of the day was taking a walking trip to Tanyard Creek and seeing some water pollution in action. We were also able to brainstorm ways in which we could restore the stream. Everyone had a great time!

Emily and Carter presenting on environmental science terminology.
Michelle and the Scouts discussing the effects of erosion on Tanyard Creek.
Looking for stream macroinvertebrates!

Owl Pellet Dissection at Athens-Clarke County Public Library

The Athens-Clarke County Public Library holds a variety after-school activities for students in the Athens area. Today, EcoReach teamed up with the ACC Library for the after-school program’s first ecology themed event. Middle and high school students from around Athens were able to learn about predator traits and trophic dynamics through dissecting owl pellets. Students were able to find and identify the bones of a variety of prey items, including rodents, shrews, and voles. Both students and volunteers had lots of fun learning about these top predators!

Introduction to the lesson.
Owl pellets– up close!
Hard at work!

Water Activities at Stroud Elementary

Last fall, EcoReach had the chance to collaborate with WatershedUGA to conduct a series of water-related activities at Stroud Elementary School in Athens, Georgia. These events included running an activity booth at a parent night and two lessons about water quality monitoring and watersheds with the Community Problem Solvers class. EcoReach volunteers were able to introduce the bright students in this class to the concepts of biological monitoring and hydrologic processes through two fun and interactive activities.