When the U.S. Department of Energy cut funds last year for an environmental education program at the Silver Bluff Audubon Center, Washington Savannah River Co. stepped in to keep it going.
"They really helped a great deal," said Anne Bohnet, a teacher/naturalist employed by the University of South Carolina Aiken's Ruth Patrick Science Education Center.
Formerly known as the Natural Resources Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education Program, the hands-on "outdoor investigations" in water, soil and forestry for grades two through 12 are now known as the Science and Technology Enrichment Program, Ms. Bohnet said. The program also provides teacher training workshops.
Ms. Bohnet is the only full-time instructor for the program. This school year, she said, the program reached about 2,800 students from Richmond and Columbia counties in Georgia and from Aiken, Edgefield, Barnwell, Allendale, Lexington and Hampton counties in South Carolina. Sessions are held at the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and at Savannah River Site.
The Audubon Center in Jackson also holds other nature-based activities, including a recent event sponsored by the Environmental Science Education Coalition in which middle school classes from Georgia and South Carolina competed to answer a series of questions about the environment.
In September, the Audubon Center will open two new hiking trails to the public, said Paul Koehler, the center's director. Visitors will be able to walk the 2-mile trails free Monday through Saturday, he said.
Reach J.C. Lexow at (706) 828-3904 or firstname.lastname@example.org
UPCOMING EVENTS AT SILVER BLUFF AUDUBON CENTER
4542 Silver Bluff Road, Jackson, S.C.
June 19-23, 9 a.m. to noon
Coca-Cola Kids Camp for ages 6 through 12, sponsored by the Aiken County Parks and Recreation Department. Pre-registration, which is required, will open May 23. Presented by Security Federal, the camp is free, but space is limited to 30. For information, call (803) 642-7559.
32nd North American Butterfly Association Butterfly Count
Volunteers will conduct a one-day census of butterflies sighted in a 15-mile diameter area, including the Audubon Center. NABA publishes a report on the census findings.
August 12, 6 p.m.
Storks & Corks fund raising event benefitting the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation. Held at the height of the wood stork season, the event will include a viewing on the center grounds, a silent auction with wine and hors d'oeuvres. $25 per person.