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.
Teachers can find a CHANGES program overview through this Teacher Infographic.
For a full list of science standards found throughout the CHANGES program, check out the CHANGES State Science Standards.
This version of our science standards breaks down standards found by each program module. To view, check out the CHANGES Science Standards Chart.
Students will be introduced to the GNDNERR estuary through immersive educational experiences. Students will use research instruments to collect water quality data and monitor shorelines using GPS and GIS technology. The field trip component of this program brings students to the Grand Bay estuary, where activities and simulations will help students to become familiarized with restoration practices associated with estuaries.
Students will be introduced to the GNDNERR savannas through immersive educational experiences. Students will use research instruments to collect data and map invasive species using GPS and GIS technology. The field trip component of this program brings students to GNDNERR pine savanna restoration sites, where activities and simulations will help students to become familiarized with restoration practices associated with pine savannas.
Meet the Staff
He is the Project Lead for the CHANGES program.