Monthly Archives: May 2015

Skidaway seismograph detects Nepal earthquake

The seismograph planted in the meadow near Groves Creek detected the April 25th earthquake in Nepal.Earthquake Seismic Image

The seismograph was originally part of an NSF funded project of the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology. It was one of dozens of transportable arrays that were moved across the country and collecting seismic activity to image the deep earth several years ago. When the project was completed, the Skidaway station was transferred to another project to monitor earthquakes in the US.  The array is powered by the solar panel that many have seen on the northern end of the Groves Creek meadow.

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Georgia Southern grad student joins Frischer lab

Eli O’Cain is a new grad student in Marc Frischer’s lab.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA native of St. Simons Island, Eli received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Georgia Southern University in 2013. After receiving his degree from Georgia Southern, he worked on St. Simons Island as a kayak tour guide for Southeast Adventure Outfitters and on Jekyll Island as an environmental educator at the 4-H Center.

In the fall of 2014, Eli returned to Georgia Southern to pursue his master’s degree in biology. His thesis is studying the role that coral recruitment plays in alternate reef stable states in the Florida Keys. He is working at Skidaway to develop a bioassay that will allow identification of coral recruits to the species level.

Pavilion will give UGA Aquarium visitors an outdoor place to gather

by Michele Johnson

Thanks to a private gift, visitors to the UGA Marine Extension Service will soon have an outdoor pavilion where they can gather when visiting the Marine Education Center and Aquarium.

Springer Mountain Farms and company president Gus Arrendale, a UGA alumnus, made the $25,000 gift that will be used to buy materials for the facility. The Barn Builders, a volunteer group of residents who live near the island, will construct the pavilion free of charge.

“I am proud to be able to give back to my alma mater with this pavilion. I think it will help facilitate learning and the enjoyment of the unique outdoor environment in which only Georgia has to offer,” said Gus Arrendale, president of Springer Mountain Farms. “From the peak of Springer Mountain to the Georgia coast, protecting the environment is high on our list of priorities here at Springer Mountain Farms.”

An artist's rendering of the pavilion under construction.

An artist’s rendering of the pavilion under construction.

More than 25,000 people, including school groups, summer campers and tourists, visit the UGA Aquarium each year to learn about the beautiful Georgia coast. The pavilion will provide an outdoor place for visitors to gather rain or shine.

“Visitors, especially school groups, have been asking for a place to eat for years,” said Anne Lindsay, associate director for marine education at the UGA Marine Extension Service and Georgia Sea Grant, units of the Office of Public Service and Outreach. “We have never had a place where student groups could gather on their own and out of rainy and windy weather.”

The 1,000-square-feet pavilion will be located near the beginning of the Jay Wolf Nature Trail that runs along the Skidaway River, and will include water, lights, ceiling fans and large sturdy picnic tables that will seat about 50 people.

“The pavilion will allow folks to stay on campus just a little longer and will add to the convenience of the site as a field trip destination,” Lindsay said.

The Barn Builders have done volunteer work at the UGA Aquarium for about five years, constructing lean-to sheds, fences and gates, shelving, picnic tables, information kiosks and much more.

“Whatever project they come up with, we’ll try to tackle it,” said Lars Ljungdahl, a Barn Builders volunteer. “At our age, retired as we are, we have the time. We like to give back.”

The project should be completed by this fall.

Based in Mt Airy, Ga., Springer Mountain Farms is a family owned company that produces chickens raised on a pesticide-free, vegetarian diet without the use of antibiotics, steroids, growth stimulants or hormones. Springer Mountain Farms was the first poultry producer in the world to gain the endorsement of the American Humane Association under its American Human Certified program. Its chickens are supplied to grocery stores, restaurants and chefs across the country and around the world.

Wind turbines coming to Skidaway Campus

The Skidaway Institute campus will soon be the site of a “small-wind” demonstration project to study the feasibility of generating wind power in Georgia using small scale wind turbines. The Georgia Power-sponsored project will feature four small scale turbines, up to 10 kW each, or the size that an individual/customer might install on their own property, plus a meteorological tower.

While the exact model of the wind turbines has not yet been determined, this is an example of the type under consideration.

While the exact model of the wind turbines has not yet been determined, this is an example of the type under consideration.

The turbines will be located in the large field adjacent to McWhorter Road on the main section of the campus. While the equipment selection has not been finalized, the turbine height could range between 90-140 feet, or about one-third to one-half the height of large-scale wind turbines.

The Board of Regents approved placing the site on the Skidaway campus at its April board meeting. Georgia Power will lease the property for two years with an option for an additional six months. When the research project is complete, the agreement calls for the test turbines to be dismantled and removed.

Georgia Southern University is also partnering in the research on this project. GSU’s primary focus is to study the environmental aspects of small wind turbines including the impact on noise and avian life.