The newly formed Grayson County High School Ecology Club met with Devin Floyd, President and co-founder of Blue Ridge Discovery Center (BRDC). The students are interested in getting involved in outdoor activities that will help them learn about the ecology of this area. The mission of the BRDC is to inspire people to explore, discover, and share the natural history of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The students plan to participate in the center's guided expeditions of the region's ecosystems, community projects, data collection, blogging, and mentorship opportunities.
After a presentation of why and how BRDC was formed, the students participated in finding their homes on a shaded relief map of the New River Plateau (Grayson, Carroll, Floyd, Allegheny, Ashe, and Watauga counties). Devin also shared his knowledge of an Internet learning tool called Google Earth and showed the students how the program allows one to explore the geology and topography of the area. The students saw what a useful tool Google Earth can be for learning about ecology. Devin also brought an assortment of items found during outdoor exploration in the western Grayson Co.: crystals, arrowheads, butterflies, leaves, and seeds. He shared with the students his own experiences growing up in Grayson County (Devin graduated from Grayson County High School, a 1992 graduate). Exploring the mountains, fields, creeks, and rivers of the area inspired his passion for art, archeology, geology, and ecology.
The students were very interested in his experiences and collections and responded with many questions and sharing of their own outdoor experiences in Grayson County. The meeting ended with plans for the club to participate in a series of BRDC expeditions to several of Grayson County's unique ecological areas. The students also plan to document and share their observations as part of a habitat study project the center is conducting.
By Deb Greif
Edited by Devin Floyd