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Local Ecology A Field Course for Teachers
BIO 772A

DESCRIPTION: This course is a classroom/field oriented course designed to introduce teachers to the ecology of South Carolina/Georgia. Emphasis will be on selected vegetational communities within the physiographic regions of South Carolina. The course will consist of classroom meetings and four field trips. The course will be geared for teachers at the elementary and middle school levels, however, the ecological content would be appropriate for the high school teacher who wants to become more familiar with his/her environmental surroundings.

CREDIT: Three semester hours of graduate credit.

INSTRUCTOR(S):Dr. Jeff Priest, Assoc. Prof. Biology, Director of the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center/CSRA Hub.

TELEPHONE: 648-6851 (O)

DATES: Mondays/Wednesdays, March 15- May 5 1999,
Saturdays, March 27, April 17, May1
Satruday-Sunday, April 24-25

TIMES: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.


SUGGESTED GEAR: For Coastal Overnight Trip - Sleeping Bag (or sheets), Pillow, Flashlight,Toiletries, closed toed shoes for marsh hike, daypack, canteen, rain poncho, binoculars, camera, bathing suit, towels, sweatshirt, medium weight jacket that fits in backpack, hat, toilet paper (biodegradable), insect repellent. Mountain Field Trip - Daypack, canteen, rain poncho, binoculars, camera, towel, sweatshirt, medium weight jacket that fits in backpack, hat, toilet paper (biodegradable), insect repellent, bag lunch. Other Field Trips - Daypack, canteen, rain poncho, binoculars, camera, hat, toilet paper (biodegradable), insect repellent, bag lunch.


l. To make teacher-participants aware of the different vegetational communities within the physiographic regions of South Carolina/Georgia.

2. To make teachers knowledgeable about various environmental parameters that influence these communities.

3. To make teacher-participants aware of field trip sites where they can take their students to learn about plants and animals.

4. To give teachers the confidence to teach their students about the environment.

5. To offer participants alternative educational tools to teach about plants and animals.

OBJECTIVES: By the end of this course participants will be able to:

1. Name and locate the physiographic regions of South Carolina and Georgia

2. Name at least 5 vegetational communities and 5 plants and animals typically found within those communities

3. Describe how some environmental parameters effect these communities

4. Describe two techniques used to census both plants and animals

5. Name 5 endangered animals found in South Carolina or Georgia

6. Identify by sight; poison ivy, poison oak, copperhead snake, Canebrake rattlesnake, timber rattlesnake, eastern diamondback rattlesnake, cottonmouth, coral snake

7. Describe 2 wildlife management techniques used by wildlife biologists to regulate habitats and wildlife populations

8. Describe how land changes have affected the environment

9. Name and describe the effects of 3 sources of environmental pollution

10. Implement at least 5 hands-on activities that will enhance a students ability to learn about wildlife populations and their environment

TOPICS: Physiographic Regions of South Carolina/Georgia Selected Vegetational Communities including:

pond margins

coastal dunes

cove hardwoods

salt water marshes

fresh water swamps ohardwood bottoms

Oak-hickory associations

turkey oak associations

xeric pine-mixed hardwoods

Wildlife Management Techniques

Endangered Species

Animal Populations

Energy Flow


Land Use



1. Course Participation (40%): to receive credit, participants may only miss one class, no matter if the absence is excused or not excused. A missed class will cause the final point total to be reduced. Participation will be subjectively assessed.

2. Final Exam (25%): The final exam will test the participants knowledge of topics covered in the classroom.

3. Quizzes (15%): There will be field quizzes on plant and animal identification, community identification, etc. while in the field.

4. Field Notebook (15%): Participants will be required to keep a field notebook, recording observations and activities while in the field.
Field Notebook Criteria
It is suggested that the field notebook be a laboratory notebook with carbon copy pages. The entire notebook can be turned in and I will keep a copy of the carbon pages for my file.
Content/format of the field notebook is as follows:

a. date

b. where (location of field trip)

c. activities performed (methods)

d. data collected (species list, raw data, etc.)

e. results section (if applicable)

f. conclusions (if applicable)

g. likes (what did you like about the field trip)

h. dislikes (what you did not like about the field trip)

i. what parts, if any, of the field trip can you incorporate into your classroom
5. Classroom Proposal (5%): the objective is to design a project that you and your students can conduct on your school grounds dealing with some aspect of ecology.
Proposal Format

a. title

b. objectives (must be reasonable)

c. time line

d. needed resources

e. methods (how is project to be implemented; what role will students have; will other teachers be involved; what will you and/or your students get out of the project)

f. budget


Introduction to course, Biomes, Biosphere

Field Trip- Hegges Rock, Stevens Creek (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

Ecosystem, Habitat, Communities, Populations

Energy flow, abiotic factors, biotic factors, Biogeo- chemical cycles

Plant Morphology, Dichotomous keys

Sandhill Province, Piedmont Province

Hitchcock Woods (Sampling techniques)(8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

Coastal Zone

Field Trip, Coastal Zone Education Center, Pritchards Island

Soils, Sampling Techniques

Map Reading

Mans interactions, Effects of urbanization

Blue Ridge Province

Field Trip, Blue Ridge Province (6:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.)


Final Exam, Field Notebooks Due