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Environmental Education

Beginning in October 2018, the University of North Georgia will promote responsible, sustainable actions in the care and conservation of native forest ecosystems in North Georgia. Students and members of the public will assess water quality, tree health, apply chemicals sustainable, and identify native/invasive species during workshops over the next two years. EPA Grant # 00D882218.

Read this news article about the workshop held on the Gainesville Campus in March 2019

Sign up for a 2019-2020 Environmental Education Workshop

Register to attend a free workshop from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to learn more about the following topics: Orientation information on environmental education at UNG, Georgia's mountain treasures, soil quality, native tree species of Georgia, invasive threats, gardening & pollinators, tree care, water quality and streambank restoration, weather and climate effects on forest ecosystems of North Georgia.

Attendees will go on a trail walk, so dress appropriately for the weather. Presenters are from the UNG Institute for Environmental & Spatial Analysis, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, Georgia Forestry Commission, Hall County/Lumpkin County Master Gardeners (a division of the UGA Ag Extension), Georgia Forest Watch, Georgia Urban Forestry Council, UNG Ecological Protection Lab, and Lumpkin Coalition. Lunch will be provided. Seats are limited, so register today. If the event closes, you will be notified of a future date you can attend.  

(Not recommended for children below middle school age, and minors must have permission of parents to attend).

Gainesville - Tumbling Creek

  • September 7, 2019
  • October 19, 2019
  • February 29, 2020
  • May 16, 2020

Dahlonega - Hurricane Creek

  • September 14, 2019
  • March 28, 2019

 

Project Details

Environmental activities will include:

  • Identify both native and invasive species through an introductory lecture by community partners
  • Research species type using mobile applications or online field guides on the iPad during the forest walk at the field lab workshop
  • Measure trees using calipers and assess tree health with a field lab demonstration
  • Record tree, soil, and water conditions on a GIS data collection app on the iPad during the field lab workshop
  • Test soil in proximity to selected trees for soil conditions necessary for optimum planting and tree maintenance during a field lab demonstration
  • Conduct test for water quality in streams located in forest areas
  • Promote sustainable practices for removing invasive threats

Counties in Georgia Being Served by This Project

  • Banks
  • Barrow
  • Bartow
  • Catoosa
  • Chattooga
  • Cherokee
  • Clarke
  • Dade
  • Dawson
  • Elbert
  • Fannin
  • Floyd
  • Forsyth
  • Franklin
  • Gilmer
  • Gordon
  • Habersham
  • Hall
  • Hart
  • Jackson
  • Lumpkin
  • Madison
  • Murray
  • Oconee
  • Pickens
  • Rabun
  • Stephens
  • Towns
  • Union
  • Walker
  • White
  • Whitfield

Sub Award Recipients

UNG is honored to award the following five organizations a sub-award in the amount of $5000 each for their proposed environmental education program:

Small-Scale Streambank Stabilization in the Soque Watershed 

Soque River Watershed Association
This Habersham County project will educate the public through a series of workshops with the theme of how to identify and restore impaired streambanks.

Understory Arboretum 

Smithgall Woods State Park 
Located in White County, this project will teach approximately 500 middle school students forest succession and tree identification. In addition, adults will learn similar concepts in a UGA sponsored Master Naturalist program(s) and park visitors of all ages will directly benefit from this native tree identification tour.

Stormwater Education and Calls Creek Streambank Stabilization Project

Upper Oconee Watershed Network
This project should reach the general citizenry of Oconee County as it will include citizen science engagement while also promoting sustainable environmental practices to reduce erosion and harmful runoff at Calls Creek.

Jefferson Dragons Think Blue

Jefferson City Schools BioSTEAM Center
Utilizing a wetlands area on property owned by the school system, this project plans to educate approximately 2000 students in grades K-12 in the Jefferson City School System and community members from Jefferson County through volunteer events using the BioSTEAM bus to organize tours for field trips and educational programs regarding wetland habitat and conditions.

Stream and Streambank Health in the Soque Watershed

Soque River Watershed Association
This project should reach approximately 375 Habersham County students in grades 4-9 to help students understand how to manage landscapes with an emphasis on streambank health.

The project objectives focus on comprehensive knowledge, application, technology, and environmental science skills on the environmental issues of invasive insect species, vegetation management, impairment of waterways due to sediment, soil and water quality issues affecting native forest ecosystems in urban, suburban, or rural communities, as all of these community types have native forest ecosystems in Georgia. One of the major issues in vegetation management is how to control invasive plant species without the excessive use of pesticides. Most citizens cannot identify native species in the Foothills landscape, nor proper methods for treatment; and therefore, are unable to act as good stewards of native forests/trees in Georgia rural, suburban, or urban landscapes. Learning activities on native/invasive plant identification and best treatment practices will mitigate this lack of knowledge.

The importance of clean water to North Georgia ecosystems and Chattahoochee River Watershed will be addressed through lectures on the chemical properties of pesticides/herbicides and the effects on soil and water quality, then field lab exercises will be conducted in order to monitor pesticide/herbicide run-off by using single use water quality test kits on water samples from Tumbling Creek and Hurricane Creek. Experts from community partners will educate participants on species identification, timber management practices, assessing tree health, and invasive pest sustainable practices for pesticide/herbicide use to reduce environmental harm when applied in riparian forests. These comprehensive lectures, learning activities, and field lab exercises on vegetation, soil, water run-off, and chemical use in urban/suburban settings will be designed to motivate citizens to be good stewards of their communities and demonstrate the multitude of interlocking issues related to forest health.

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