Students from Richmond Hill Middle School’s Field Studies Program met with local business leaders and Richmond Hill residents to thank them for their donation of funds to purchase new microscope imaging stations. Jill and Gary Stanberry, owners of Ps. 37 Management, Inc.; Randy and Shannon Bocook of the Randy Bocook Real Estate Team; and Richmond Hill Developer Johnny Murphy each donated $1400 toward the purchase of imaging stations which consist of a laboratory quality microscope, high resolution microscope camera, and laptop. Students in Robert Hodgdon’s class and those who are members of the ecological Field Studies Program will use these imaging stations to monitor our estuaries for phytoplankton that can produce harmful algal blooms as part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Phytoplankton Monitoring Network; survey Monarch butterflies for the University of Georgia’s Project Monarch Watch for signs of a parasite that causes OE disease in Monarchs; to examine the parasites that cause Black Gill Disease in local shrimp; and for other real-world ecological studies in conjunction with local, state, and federal wildlife agencies and conservation organizations. Hodgdon says the group is hoping to find local businesses and community members who are willing to sponsor wildlife cameras to support a new megafauna population study. The Field Studies members and members of Hodgdon’s class will deploy up to 25 wildlife cameras in the areas adjacent to the RHMS campus to collect data on the movement of large game animals such as deer and turkey as well as introduced or invasive species such as feral hogs and coyotes which are causing significant disruption to our local ecosystem. Hodgdon believes that as development increases in South Bryan County, these animals will move more frequently in search of undeveloped habitat. The data collected by these school groups will be shared with Bryan County residents and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The high quality camera set-ups needed cost approximately $250 each. Local business owners and Bryan County residents interested in sponsoring a wildlife camera should contact Robert Hodgdon at email@example.com. #WeAreRHMS
Pictured Left to Right: Jill Stanberry, Emily Dobson, Randy Bocook, Meredith Dobson, Shannon Bocook, Hannah Dixon, Robert Hodgdon, Ryan Wiebold, Dr. William McGrath, and Johnny Murphy.