On February 21, 2018, East Georgia State College President Bob Boehmer, Biology Department Chair David Chevalier, GYSTC Regional Coordinator Erin Youmans, Correll Scholar and Biology Program freshman student Susanna Hall and SHS Senior Terry Moye visited the Swainsboro Middle School SciFries Club.
Deanna Ryan, SMS science teacher and advisor of the SciFries, invited the EGSC members and Moye to discuss initiatives taken by EGSC to become more environmentally-friendly. Members of the college answered questions from the SciFries during video interviews.
“It is incredibly inspiring to see how interested and involved the members of SciFries are in regard to helping EGSC in areas such as establishing a pollinator-friendly community and becoming a tree campus,” said Hall. “It is always encouraging to see younger minds that are enthusiastic about bettering the environment.”
During the interviews, Dr. Boehmer discussed the importance and the initiatives taken by the college to become more sustainable, and Hall described the refillable water bottle stations installed on the campus during Fall of 2017. The station sallow students, faculty and staff to refill water bottles, therefore reducing plastic waste from disposable water bottles.
Youmans discussed the beehives on the EGSC Campus, Bobcat Apiary, and the importance of bees for the environment, as well as the many threats to bee populations. Dr. Chevalier added in discussion of efforts undertaken by the college to manage and protect trees on campus as well. As a result of their efforts, EGSC has been designated both a Bee Campus USA and a Tree Campus USA.
Moye also spoke to the students about his Eagle Scout Project, which involves building raised garden beds on the EGSC campus to grow endangered plants native to Georgia.
“I am impressed by the way EGSC is connecting with our middle and high school students by sharing the importance of bees, recycling, and joining in on other initiatives like planting endangered carnivorous plants and pollinator garden projects,” said Ryan. “It’s a kick in the pants to see former SciFries like Terry guiding this year’s SciFries to build raised beds for endangered plants. I hope EGSC’s Biology Department and administration continue to support our students who are trying to leave their mark by doing something good for the environment.”
“It is exciting and refreshing to observe a group of bright young people who are genuinely excited about science and involved in a program providing them with a vehicle to channel that excitement into completion of projects meeting community needs,” said Dr. Boehmer. “These talented students and their dedicated teacher make me optimistic about our community’s future.”
SciFri student Elizabeth Smith said, “I think I learned the most from Terry Moye. He showed that SciFries can get older and not just leave the middle school, but bring what we have learned into the future to help the environment and share it with others.”
“It is really refreshing to meet young minds that are so passionate about science,” added Dr. Chevalier. “We are looking forward to more collaborative projects between EGSC and the SciFries.”
Dr. Boehmer also presented the SciFries with a book entitled Trees of Georgia and Adjacent States by Claud L. Brown and L. Katherine Kirkman. The book was used to help the SciFries with identifying trees during the Tree Identification Workshops organized by the EGSC Tree Campus Advisory Committee.