Lake Conestee Nature Preserve partners with ReWa to expand education programs

There are a number of natural gems in the upstate that are worth exploring, but perhaps none are as close to Greenville as Lake Conestee Nature Reserve (LCNP).

Publicizing the abundant plant and animal life within the reserve and all the educational opportunities it presents has been at the top of Michael Corley’s to-do list since he became the park’s executive director in January.

Photo by Anthony Martin

One of the programs that excites him most is the extension of a long-standing partnership with Renewable Water Resources (ReWa) to provide an immersive summer camp experience for college students who demonstrate both economic need and an interest and aptitude for science and nature.

“The educational programs were one of the main reasons I accepted this position,” says Corley. “We have this amazing outdoor classroom… where we can deliver this immersive learning experience. “

Stacey Flax, Senior Strategic Communications Coordinator for ReWa, says the partnership with LCNP is an important part of ReWa’s educational outreach to the community to help increase understanding of water resource issues.

ReWa is the main sponsor of the 2021 summer camp and, according to its annual report, guarantees the participation of more than 85 students from six different schools in the region.

Corley says ReWa’s sponsorship offsets costs that would otherwise be around $ 5,000 per child.

Photo by Bob King

Students will learn about water sampling and analysis, techniques for conducting surveys of fish populations, as well as cataloging and identification of a wide variety of plant and animal species.

“I think summer camp is one of the coolest things around here,” Corley says.

LCNP and ReWa are also partners in another “teacher education” program on wetland ecology and water resource management. Teachers will not only have the hands-on experience of learning on the reserve, but will visit ReWa’s Water Discovery Lab and other facilities to develop lessons that they can take back to their classrooms.

Photo by Anthony Martin

Corley says the natural role in which the LCNP wetlands act as a natural filter for water from the Reedy River just downstream from the ReWa wastewater discharge point is another reason the two organizations are natural partners.

“We’ve heard Conestee called Reedy’s ‘kidneys’,” says Corley.

Among plans to make the reserve more accessible to everyone, Corley says the LCNP will add more and better signage throughout the park. A new branding and website redesign are also underway.

For more information on Lake Conestee Nature Reserve, visit www.conesteepreserve.org.


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