At the request of a couple of campers from a previous camp we put together another Fly Fishing Camp to end the summer. Shortened by a day, it became an action packed three day initiation by fire. On the ride to camp we all agreed to treat this as an intensive course rather than the typical shenanigans of a summer camp. The result was one seriously focused group of kids.
A small pack from Boy Scout Troop #5 hauled their swimming trunks, snorkels and bug nets down to Big Wilson Creek in search of Southern Appalachain Brook Trout. Upon arriving we found a tea-colored tannin stained creek. Not to be deterred, the scouts geared up and entered the 62 degree water without hesitation.
Earlier this summer Blue Ridge Discovery Center received a grant to implement a Freshwater Snorkeling program with the goal of connecting our youth to the lifeblood of the Blue Ridge Mountains. By immersing kids in a setting they have never experienced before, we will be generating a profound drive of curiosity, exploration and discovery. Armed with wetsuits, snorkels and masks, we are about cross that mirrored boundary.
On June 7th, a small group of us met at the Massie Gap parking area of Grayson Highlands State Park for our second local Blue Ridge Expeditions hike of the year. Roald Kirby led a 4 mile walk around the edges of Sullivan Swamp, sometimes taking us off the trail for a while. Bushwhacking, he said, can bring surprises.
Birding with campers at Grayson Highlands State Park 6/29/13 Julie Slater, intern at GHSP, and Blue Ridge Discovery Center have joined forces for a series of on-site programs this summer and fall. (See previous blogs regarding the currency of this association through BRDC’s Fish Bugs program.) Our choice of study for this program was Sullivan Swamp (defined as an Appalachian shrub bog), with a strong focus on birds.
On both May 20th and 21st, Aaron Floyd led groups of grade school age kids, all from Grayson Highlands School, to Grayson Highlands State Park for a day of stream exploration. I was not able to help on Monday, so my report will focus on Tuesday’s outing. 22 kids helped us move our equipment from the Massie Gap parking area to our chosen spot along Cabin Creek, just below the large falls.
Our 2012 collaboration finished up in January of 2013. This project was a partnership with the Grayson County High School 2nd year art class and BRDC’s Project SiteSection. With this poster we will be helping to spotlight the globally unique habit that is Sullivan Swamp by illustrating the full list of butterflies documented by the SiteSection program.