Students Engage Nature at DBG

For immediate release June 4, 2018

On May 31, thirty-two Sussex Central High School students visited the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG) in Dagsboro, DE to observe nature and conduct various projects. The junior-year students were welcomed by Ray Sander, President of DBG, who said, “DBG is in the beginning of a long-journey and we are very proud to have these young scholars as participants on this journey.” He said he hoped they would return next year when the DBG will be open to the public.

Students with Gregg Tepper Photo by Ray Bojarski

Students with Gregg Tepper
Photo by Ray Bojarski

Ryan Revel, a biology teacher, organized the field trip with Sheryl Swed, the Executive Director of DBG. Swed explained that the Sussex Central students were the first student group to visit the garden, as part of a “pilot” educational field trip. She explained, “This is the beginning of the DBG education program.”

Ryan explained, “The science part of our International Baccalaureate DP Program requires that students do something called a group four project. At Sussex Central, we teach two group four courses, biology and chemistry. The content of the courses is college level. Students take these courses over a period of two years. The project is collaborative in nature and is a required element.”

The two-hour visit began with students recording the weather conditions, which affect the plants and observations in the garden.  Then there was a tour of the gardens led by Gregg Tepper, Director of Horticulture. He explained how the various plants support the wildlife in the gardens. Therefore, it is a “living” garden. Observing the meadow garden, student Ryan Sosnoski said, “I like the diversity of plants here.”  Walking in the much cooler Woodland Garden, student Ashleigh Steele said, “I like the variety of environments within the gardens, there is something for everybody.”

After the tour, the students assembled at the Wetland Outdoor Classroom.  They divided into three basic groups. One group studied the native plants as they prepared a “Field Guide” of 30 native plants. The second group began taking water samples at the Wetland Outdoor Classroom, and the third group began to take “soil samples” at the Wetland Outdoor Classroom. The Wetland Outdoor Classroom was designed and constructed by Todd Fritchman and Envirotech. Dogfish Head has generously underwritten the costs of this important learning feature.

Teachers Ryan Revel and Kristen Ables with students
Photo by ray bojarski

The chemistry teacher, Kristen Ables said, “Field work is always the best, and I’m looking forward to comparing these water and soil samples with the data you already have.”  The samples went back to the classroom for further study.

Ryan Revel summed up the Sussex Central High School visit saying, “I think a lot of learning happened here today. I envision these students bringing their children here someday. It is amazing to me that so much of the information Gregg Tepper shared today was so similar to what I have said in the classroom. This visit magnified many of those teaching points.”

The mission of the Delaware Botanic Gardens is to create an inspirational, educational, and sustainable public garden in Delaware for the benefit and enjoyment of all. The Delaware Botanic Gardens celebrates the coastal plain with a sustainable garden that delights and educates visitors and inspires them to preserve Delmarva’s native landscape.