A science teacher at Savannah Country Day School is turning a large drainage ditch on campus into a bog that can use as an outdoor classroom to teach about wetland wildlife.
“Since we already had bullfrogs, leopard frogs and a lot of native plant species in that area, we thought it would be great if we could turn it into a bog – a site that would be an outdoor classroom,” said Bill Eswine, a science specialist who has directed a coastal ecology summer camp in the Savannah area since 1982.
Eswine recently received a $1,000 Teaching Conservation grant through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to enhance the bog.
The grant, which has been met with a matching private donation, is provided by The Environmental Resources Network, a friends group of the Nongame Conservation Section of DNR. The section awards the grant annually to a third- through fifth-grade public or private school teacher in Georgia who demonstrates exceptional energy and innovation in teaching life sciences.
Although the ditch may not look like much now, Eswine says the future site will allow his students to observe the diverse wildlife in a bog habitat, as well as study hydrology and the potential effects of pollution, climate change and other threats to natural bogs, a fragile and often-overlooked ecosystem.
“Most people see (the ditch) as an ugly site and would fill it in, but it really is a unique habitat and we wanted to highlight that for our kids,” Eswine said. “They’re the stewards of the future and we want them to look at things appropriately.”