The Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (GNDNERR) is home to wetland pine savannas and retrograding river deltas which require constant application of management, monitoring, and restoration. Wetland pine savannas become overgrown without regular wildfires and invaded by exotic plants suppressing their biodiversity and suitability for native species. Marshes in the estuary are subject to erosion through wave action and sediment loss, and invasion by exotic species. Through the employment of management practices, the GNDNERR seeks to restore functions to these unique ecosystems.

This project, Conceptualizing Human Alteration and Natural Growth in Estuaries and Savannas (CH∆NGES), will use these unique habitats and current management applications as a platform to educate students about ecological processes and applicable restoration practices. Students will be introduced to the GNDNERR estuary and savannas through immersive educational experiences such as estuary boat tours and savanna hikes. Students will use water quality instruments to collect data, and they will map invasive species using GPS and GIS technology. Activities and simulations will help students to become familiarized with restoration practices associated with each environment. Students will observe and participate in monitoring processes from experimental design planning and data collection, to data entry and manipulation. They will identify differences between natural and anthropogenic change, discuss pros and cons of efforts to restore the ecosystem to a previous functional state, and assess ecosystem responses to weigh the benefits of each decision. In short, they will gain direct exposure to the real-world work of natural resource managers at the GNDNERR.

Teacher Resources

Estuary Module

Savanna Module

Recent News

  • Sightings April 2019 – August 2019
    October 30, 2019

    April 2019 4/3- Large white tailed deer (2); Male painted bunting 4/12- Blue-gray gnat catcher 4/16- Glass lizard 4/19- Yellow colicroot 4/24- Rose orchid/pogonia; wild onion/garlic May 2019 5/1- Large bald eagle 5/7- Red-headed woodpecker 5/8- Gulf Coast box turtles (4) 5/16- Large white tailed deer 5/20- Baby box turtle […]

  • We’re looking for volunteers for fall 2019!
    August 23, 2019

    It’s already gearing up to be a busy fall at the Grand Bay NERR. Earlier this summer we celebrated our 20th year as a Reserve with an open house for guests. To continue the celebration, our National Estuaries Day event will have even more fun for the family! In addition to our […]

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