UI100 Students Building Marsh in Cape County Park North

Photo of UI 100 students plating the marsh

UI 100 students at Southeast Missouri State University work on planting a marsh in the Cape County Park North in Cape Girardeau, Mo..(View larger image of students working)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Oct. 11, 2006 – Students in Southeast Missouri State University’s UI100 “Wildlife and American Culture” class, taught by Dr. William Eddleman, chair of the Department of Biology, are working together to design and implement a marsh at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Campus Nature Center in Cape County Park North.

The students are working with Steven Juhlin, a staff member with the Missouri Department of Conservation, and Mike Reed, a Missouri Department of Conservation fishery biologist.

The marsh will be built in the lower lake at Cape County Park North in order to create a productive habitat for native wildlife.

“The goals are to educate the public about marshes and to display some of the unique plants that occur in this rare habitat,” Eddleman says

Along with educating the public, Eddleman has helped to educate his own students about marshes. Freshman Keith Proctor, a pre-med major from Marquand, Mo., says, “While doing this project we discovered that plants can be extremely specific as to the amount of water needed to survive.  I now understand that every inch of a swamp is a necessary part of the habitat.”

This will be the third year Eddleman has worked with his students in a “hands-on” project related to wildlife habitat rehabilitation.

“I decided to do a project because it is ‘hands-on,’ and it involves a rare or declining type of wildlife habitat,” he said. “The students get to perform a public service project, and they get to meet and interact with people who work in resource management.

Freshman William Gibson, a chemistry major from Barnhart, Mo., says, “I think that this ‘hands-on’ project is helping us learn what kind of hard work it takes to maintain a marsh. It is also giving us experience that we might not get otherwise. Plus, it was really cool to be a part of something that will probably last longer than all of us.”

The UI100 students will be working in three groups. Each group is assigned a different part of the project such as researching plans for the display, designing the marsh and determining where plants will be placed, mapping the site to determine water depths, and writing educational materials to allow visitors to learn about marshes and their native plants and animals.

Freshman, James Jacobi, a biology major from St. Charles, Mo., says, “Before planting the plants in the marsh area, as part of the plant group, I had to research the plants that we included in the project. Doing research and collecting information on the plants allowed me to learn about marsh plants. Most of the information was new to me.

“From the information gathered I could then more easily identify the plants and could tell where the plants needed to be located in the marsh.”

This project will continue throughout the semester, Eddleman says, as students continue to research and write about the plants and animals located in the marsh. 

Photo of students working to plant a marsh

Students work on building the marsh. It will be built in the lower lake at Cape County Park North in order to create a productive habitat for native wildlife.(View larger image of students working in the lake)