Seen above is one of the signs created by ECU students in a service-learning Biology course. The goal is to educate the public about invasive species and why it is important to preserve Greenville's natural resources.
ECU Biology Students Educate Greenville Community through Service-Learning Project
September 22, 2016
By Lacey L. Gray Director of Marketing and Communications Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences
East Carolina University biology
students and faculty are educating the public through various service-learning
projects within the city of Greenville. The activities, which started in fall
2015, are funded by a $20,000 grant awarded to the East Carolina Biodiversity
Initiative from the Dominion Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Dominion, one of the nation's
largest producers and transporters of energy.
In collaboration with
Greenville Recreation and Parks, faculty and students in the Thomas Harriot
College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology have spent the past year
working on various projects.
“The work supported by this
grant is an excellent example of ECU’s emphasis on serving the region,
increasing public-private partnerships and promoting STEM opportunities,” said Director
of Outreach for the East Carolina Biodiversity Initiative Dr. Heather Vance-Chalcraft.
“We are proud of our collaboration with Greenville Recreation and Parks.”
Through funding provided by
the grant, ECU undergraduates enrolled in a service-learning plant biology
course assisted with the removal of invasive species from public spaces. The idea
to create and install educational signage along local green spaces developed out
of the class exercise to remove the invasive species.
“Students in the course
worked to remove an exotic plant species that has been spreading rapidly through
the Greenville Greenways,” said Dr. Carol Goodwillie, associate professor of
biology. “The idea of developing a sign came from the students themselves, as
they became passionate about the project and wanted to educate the public.”
Each year, the Greenville
Greenway receives many visitors who come to enjoy the outdoors while walking
their dogs, taking a jog or run, or biking the paths that run along the Tar
“The new signage on the greenway
provides visitors with information to facilitate their understanding of the
value of the natural resources that occur along the greenway,” said Dr. David
Chalcraft, former director of the East Carolina Biodiversity Initiative. “An
enhanced public understanding of nature is critical to ensure the preservation
of our precious natural resources so that they can be enjoyed by future
The signs created by ECU
students now are installed and visible to the community. Two signs are located along
the Greenville Greenway, one in the Town Commons and one at River Park North.
high quality signage resulting from this partnership is an asset to the city’s
greenway system and to its citizens, educating greenway visitors on a variety
of environmental issues,” said Director of the Greenville Recreation and Parks
Department Gary Fenton. “We are grateful for the opportunity to ‘join forces’
with ECU’s Biodiversity Initiative.”
After such a positive
interaction over the past year, faculty and students at ECU hope to continue work
on collaborative projects with the city in the future.
East Carolina University | Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences
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