STEMzone – Meet Your Nature Neighbors: Plants, Animals, and Microbes

image ecoreach at STEMzone Event

Last week, STEMzone finally had its 2018 kickoff during the Auburn-UGA game on November 10th. EcoReach had our own booth, titled: “Meet your nature neighbors: Plants, Animals, and Microbes”.

The inspiration for our booth this year came from EcoReach member Micah, a PhD student in the Integrative Conservation program. Micah, who studies urban ecology, helped to design our booth around backyard ecology to emphasize all the organisms we can find right here in Athens, GA. Our booth covered three different topics: backyard plants, animals, and microbes.

We had native urban tolerant plant species displayed on our table, including leaves from Tulip Poplar, Post Oak, and Long-leaf pine, as well as blue vervain seeds for the visitors to take home. We discussed with the visitors the importance of keeping native plants in outside of your home to help promote healthy ecosystems and homes for our GA animals, and keep invasive and non-native plants out.

For our animal display, we had a southern toad for visitors to hold and learn about their ecology. Did you know, Georgia has at least 6 different species of toads and over 20 species of frogs? Have you seen any in your backyard? Learn more about them here!

And finally, microbes! Several EcoReach members designed a fun matching game to learn about zoonoses, or diseases that can spread between wildlife, domestic animals (like dogs and cats), and humans. We focused on canine distemper, toxoplasmosis, canine parvovirus, and rabies. Can you list which hosts (animals that can pick up and spread the disease) are associated with each disease? Or how about the symptoms and route of transmission for each disease? The visitors also learned best practices to help prevent the spread of these diseases, like cleaning up after your pet, keeping your pets indoors, and pet vaccinations. For more information on our game, send us a comment or email ecoreachuga@gmail.com.

Lastly, read more about STEMzone and the other booths here. Our very own 2018-2019 president, Kaylee, was quoted in this article!

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And follow us on Instagram and twitter @EcoReachUGA for more pictures and updates!

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