An important part of Lockerly Arboretum’s educational programming recently received an upgrade.
The pavilion where students of all ages learn about a variety of geological topics, or simply the geology pavilion as Lockerly staff refer to it, needed a fresh look and got it thanks to a $1,500 grant from the Tri-County EMC Foundation. The pavilion stands near the rear of the Lockerly property and gives those standing under it picturesque view of the pond located on the grounds. The educational posters and displays serve as an integral piece of students’ field trip experiences.
“The materials that were in the geology pavilion had been there for at least 20 years,” said Jennifer Pollard, executive director at Lockerly. “It’s been a fantastic educational resource for a lot of third- and sixth-graders — because that’s when they’re learning about earth science — as well as Georgia College students studying soil. Over time, the posters and the materials had become faded and difficult to read, so we updated the educational materials in the display and put in UV anti-glare acrylic sheets to protect them from the sun.”
The geology pavilion had been sporting a bare wood look, but now it has a fresh storm coat of paint that should help it better withstand the elements. That and the new displays have it looking like a brand new structure. The posters chosen were selected to tie into performance standards for targeted age groups. For example, sixth-grade science standards focus on composition and structure of the Earth while third-grade lessons include rocks and minerals found in Georgia, soils, fossils and weathering. All topics are covered at Lockerly’s geology pavilion.
The grant that paid for the updates was updated by the Tri-County EMC Foundation late last year, and the actual work was completed recently thanks to Lockerly Assistant Director Greg Eilers and his team of student workers.
“It’s been a phenomenal educational resource, so we want to make sure it stays there for the next 20 years,” Pollard said.
While the $1,500 grant was awarded by the Tri-County EMC Foundation, it was the power company’s customers that provided the funds. Customers have the option to participate in what the company calls “Operation Round Up” that rounds up their power bills to the nearest dollar. The difference between the bill and the rounded-up figure is contributed to the Tri-County EMC Foundation. Organizations can apply to the foundation’s nine-member board of directors for a shot at an Operation Round Up grant. Lockerly is one of many local organizations that has benefited from this grant program, and Pollard did not mince her words when asked how important grant funding is to organizations like hers.
“They’re crucial,” she said. “Special projects like this don’t happen without grant support. The geology pavilion has been there for 20 years and been needing an upgrade for at least the past 10. We just could never make the funds work with our operations budget. While some people might say $1,500 is not a lot of money, it’s a lot of money to us. The generosity of the grant is making a huge impact on our education programs.”