The East Georgia State College Foundation was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Mill Creek Foundation to establish a plant growing facility which will include raised beds and a hoop house on the EGSC-Swainsboro campus. This project will enhance the educational opportunities for students from local schools and will be performed by Terry Moye, a Boy Scout and local student from Swainsboro High School. Moye will use this as his Eagle Scout project.
EGSC has been a part of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance (GPCA) since August of 2015. GPCA is a consortium of universities, plant societies, museums, botanical gardens and state and federal agencies. As a non-profit organization, the goal of this consortium is the preservation and propagation of endangered plant species. As a member of GPCA, EGSC and its members, including students and faculty, are interested in preserving endangered Georgia native species and reaching out to inform the local community about Georgia native pants and their habitats, such as the Ohoopee Sand Dunes. The EGSC greenhouse is a limited space to grow plants and is not a natural habitat for many. In addition, the greenhouse is too small to tour and teach students from local schools.
The new growing facilities on the EGSC campus will be used to propagate native plants and reintroduce them back into their natural habitat, such as the Ohoopee Sand Dunes, which are located within 10 miles of the EGSC campus. The raised beds and hoop house will also be used as an outreach for the surrounding primary and middle schools. The facilities will be used to teach students about native plants and educate them on the importance of plant conservation.
“Thanks for the Mill Creek Foundation for supporting this project,” said Dr. David Chevalier, Biology Chair at EGSC. “This is one additional step towards our goal to become a propagation facility for rare plants. In addition, this project will provide an outstanding outreach to the students from local schools.”
Moye will build the raised beds and a small hoop house to grow endangered plants as part as his Eagle Scout project. An Eagle Scout project is the final project that a scout must complete in order to become an Eagle Scout. The idea is to have a project that will have a lasting effect on the community. The Eagle Scout project must be a representation of his leadership skills, and his duty to organize and carry out a plan that will benefit his community. Through this project ,the scout is able to display the skills he has learned as a scout.
“I think this project is a good for our community,” said Moye. “It’s good for the young people in our community to see and hear about another teen going out and doing their part in making this community a better place.”
Dr. Chevalier will also be involved, as well as members from Boy Scout Troop 75 of Swainsboro and Deanna Ryan and the SciFries from Swainsboro Middle School. Ryan, a science teacher at SMS, advises the SciFries, a science club at the school.
“I feel grateful for this chance to work with Terry, the EGSC biology department and the SciFries because Terry's fun to be around and his desire to create something of value in our community is contagious,” said Ryan. “He was in SciFries six years ago and will be instructing this year's students on how to create a home for endangered plants on the EGSC campus. We're ready to dig in!”
Dr. Chevalier will supervise and advise Moye and help with the project as needed. Members of Troop 75, Ryan, and the SciFries will help with the project as needed.
The potential number of students impacted by this project will be approximately 3,300. After the completion of the project, Dr. Chevalier will invite students on the EGSC campus on a regular basis. Once on campus, students will sow new seeds, help in the transfer of plants from the hoop house to the raised beds, weed the raised beds, and learn about endangered species and the importance of species conservation.