On Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, Deanna Ryan, science teacher and the advisor of the SciFries Club at Swainsboro Middle School, and members of the SciFries helped students from the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society at East Georgia State College and their advisor, Dr. David Chevalier, the Chair of the Biology Department, plant native Georgia pitcher plants in the bog garden located on the EGSC Nature Trail.
Three different species were planted: yellow trumpets (Sarracenia flava), purple pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea), and parrot pitcher plants (Sarracenia psittacina). These plants were grown at the Chattahoochee Nature Center by Henning Von Schmeling, the Operations Senior Director at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, Ga. These plants represent the second donation of pitcher plants by the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Von Schmeling already donated ten pitcher plants during the Fall of 2016. Since the plants from the first donations are growing well, Von Schmeling donated more plants to increase the number and diversity of plants in the bog garden.
A bog garden is a garden that contains permanently wet soil. The excess pitcher plants were planted in soil and kept in the EGSC greenhouse. The SciFries also brought plants to the SMS greenhouse.
Both EGSC and the Chattahoochee Nature Center are members of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance (GPCA). EGSC joined this non-profit organization in 2015 that includes botanical gardens, museums, state and federal agencies, plant societies, and universities. The goal of the organization is to preserve and propagate endangered plant species.
The restoration of the bog garden was initiated in Spring 2016 to provide an educational resource for the community around EGSC. The planting of the pitcher and the future cleaning of the Nature Trail, with the help of the SciFries, is part of this educational resource. Plans were made for the SciFries and TriBeta to work together on the cleaning of the Nature Trail on the EGSC campus.
SciFries member Elizabeth Smith said, “We learned how far apart plants need to be spaced from each other to keep them from growing into each other and so they can grow straight.”
Another student, Sarah McKay, added, “I learned Venus Fly Traps aren’t the only type of carnivorous plants and they depend on certain mosses.”
“I really appreciate the help and enthusiasm of the SciFries students,” said Dr. Chevalier. “I am really impressed by the interactions between the TriBeta Club and the middle school students. My goal is to have more projects involving biology students at EGSC in order to provide outdoor educational activities for students from local schools.”
The SciFries is a science club at Swainsboro Middle School for students who are passionate about science. Check out their page on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/sci.fries. Beta Beta Beta, or TriBeta, is the Biological Honor Society at East Georgia State College. Find out more about TriBeta here: https://www.tribeta.org/ To learn more about the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance, visit https://www.facebook.com/georgiaplantconservationalliance/