UGA Savannah River Ecology Lab brings all the cool animals to CSRA students

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

AIKEN COUNTY, SC (WRDW/WAGT) – Kids got to see some pretty cool animals at school on Wednesday all thanks to the UGA Savannah River Ecology Lab.

Usually the only time you would see all those animals in one place is at the annual Touch an Animal event in Aiken hosted by the UGA Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.

“Aiken is pretty far away from Burke County and from other places in the CSRA, and I wanted to bring a little piece of that here to Blakeney Elementary School,” said Megan Winzeler, an outreach project coordinator with the lab.

Most of their school visits involve one or two animals and limited time with students, but this event is different.

"They have 4 minutes with the scientist,” Winzeler said. “They can ask questions, they get to touch the animal, and it's more engaging and stimulating.”

Each station teaches kids about different parts of the ecosystem, and how they're affected by industry and different types of pollution.

"We're reinforcing things we learn, but we are also generating new questions and sparking curiosity and it's making them really want to learn more about something,” said Amber Colechin, a 3rd grade teacher at Blakeney Elementary School said.

“Giving them the opportunity to see different things outside of Burke County to open their eyes and let them know there are a number of different careers out there that are possible that they can do,” Blakeney Principal Earl Ishmal said.

The lab hopes to start doing these type of events at more area schools in the future.

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