High school students help develop a terrestrial salamander monitoring program at the VCU Rice Center
On Jan. 26, Anne Wright, Coordinator of the Life Sciences Outreach Educational Program, took the AP Environmental class from Varina High School on their second field trip of the year to the VCU Rice Center. The students prepared and placed a transect of salamander boards through a section of hardwood forest on the western edge of the property. This was the first of several transects to be placed at Rice to develop a terrestrial salamander monitoring program. Salamanders are an important component of the forest ecosystem yet little is known about their population dynamics. The monitoring program will help to determine what species of terrestrial salamanders are present, the size and health of their populations and potential changes in their numbers over time. The students also did a "clean up" and removed over 30 tires, two oil drums, a car door, a mail box and 10 bags of bottles and trash from the forest. Graduate student Leeanna Pletcher and service learning students Ricky Davis and Rachel Hardey assisted with the activities.