Every month, Field Technician Tim Montgomery loads his equipment onto a center console motorboat and heads off into the marshes surrounding Sapelo Island, Georgia. Over the course of several hours, he stops at multiple sites to check on the Georgia Coastal Ecosystem LTER network of data loggers continually collecting water quality parameters as they gently bob in the water. On one particular morning, I had the opportunity to go with him.
Five of us piled onto the boat with Tim—me plus four teachers participating in the hands-on LTER Schoolyard Program. In the gentle morning light, the shoreline glowed. The dominant grass species—Spartina alterniflora—undulated in soft waves as the coastal breeze pushed over the marsh, resembling a smaller ocean of green. Along the border of mud between the vegetation and water stood more herons, egrets, and other birds than I’ve ever seen in one place, including a rare wood stork or two. Tim took out a bird ID chart he kept on the boat; he uses his time on the water to learn about avian species.
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