Thanks to a new alliance between East Georgia State College and the Altamaha Riverkeeper Organization, the Ohoopee River will now become an outdoor classroom for EGSC’s biology students. The deal was formalized during a signing ceremony September 29, 2015, in which the Altamaha Riverkeeper and East Georgia State College Education and Training Alliance was established.
“East Georgia State College is proud to have this opportunity to form a strategic alliance with the Altamaha Riverkeeper to contribute to the sustainability of our region and provide unique internship opportunities for our outstanding biology students,” said EGSC President Bob Boehmer. “Congratulations to the chair of our biology department, Dr. Jim Wedincamp, and the Altamaha Riverkeeper, Jen Hilburn, for their vision in creating this alliance.”
“This is an amazing opportunity for students to apply skills they have learned through the biology department, including water quality sampling,” said Hilburn. “The Ohoopee River is an incredible public resource, state treasure, and given far too little attention. We hope to work together to gain a better understanding of the water quality and the resource as a whole.”
Hilburn described projects that students can create around the Ohoopee River, whether it is a clean-up, a research project, or the first steps in creating a water trail. “Additionally, each student will present their work to a school or community group to bring the Ohoopee River wonders to the community,” she said.
“The Ohoopee River is a perfect outdoor laboratory and will complement the EGSC Biology Department’s focus on undergraduate research,” said Dr. Wedincamp. “Our biology students learn a great deal by hands on field research that is presented at state and national scientific society meetings.”
The program already has its first student, Dana Bedgood, who is very enthusiastic. “I am really excited to be working with this,” she said. “I’m thrilled with the opportunity for hands on learning. That’s the best way to learn. You can talk about certain aspects, but to see in person what goes on and its implications is great.”
For more information about the Altamaha Riverkeeper and East Georgia State College Education and Training Alliance, contact EGSC at (478) 289-2166 or the Altamaha Riverkeeper at (912) 441-3908.