BioSurvey: Matthews State Forest
In support of and compliance with the Virginia State Forest’s objective to demonstrate and educate, Blue Ridge Discovery Center is proposing a multi-year biological survey of Matthews State Forest. Through this project, BRDC will also bring attention to wildlife habitat and water quality while providing relevant data for future land use planning.
To reinforce the educational component, BRDC will enlist science and art teachers based in the Galax, Grayson and Carroll counties region. Through these teachers, we will create groups of students to conduct the field studies under the direction of BRDC staff and volunteers from local universities and colleges.
BRDC has been busy with education programs, working with Galax Middle School, Fries School, Fairview Elementary, Grayson Highlands, Independence Elementary.
Grayson County's fourth grade students participated in the Natural Heritage Program with an emphasis on salamanders, toads, and frogs. Students learned about salamanders commonly found in the Blue Ridge.
Students from Galax Middle School travel to Matthews State Forest to learn about the forests of the Blue Ridge.
14 students spent two hours in the field defining the difference between the bark, acorns, leaves and tree structure of six species of oaks in the forest while effectively blocking out the myriad of other species in the forest. Their investigative efforts began the latest BRDC poster: The Oaks of Matthews State Forest.
For our first research day, 9/9/15, the students focused on describing the forest floor and canopy densities, comparing percentages of herbaceous and rocky or barren coverage, taking a census of all the trees within an approximately 80 foot radius of the deer exclosure including diameter, height and species of each tree.
The Seed Pods of Matthews State Forest poster has been completed! It is the fourth in an ongoing series of posters from the Blue Ridge Illustrated program.
In spite of our fickle weather, which is certainly typical, we have managed to increase outdoor activities married to our principles and mission. As well, we continue through Bird Sleuth, to provide teachers with curricula (and moral) support.
Blue Ridge Discovery Center is proud to welcome Roald Kirby to our team of naturalist explorers and guides. As program director of our new Blue Ridge Expeditions, Roald brings years of outdoor experience and love of our Blue Ridge to the public through a series of walks, guided hikes and nature lore.