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About SPARC


The SPARC (Student Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation) Program was established in September 1999. The idea is to develop educational projects and materials for students at all levels, but particularly K-12. The first school to officially join SPARC in an effort to accomplish the PARC mission was East Aiken Elementary School in Aiken, South Carolina. (East Aiken actually proposed the SPARC concept).

In the first year East Aiken Elementary worked with researchers at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) to develop a SPARC educational module that potentially could serve as a model for similar programs elsewhere. The primary goal was to develop a cross-curriculum project that simultaneously excited and educated kids about herps. The hope was that teachers would use the format of the project to teach not only science, but also geography, math, English, history, and computer and research skills. This collaboration resulted in the development of the Amphibians and Reptiles (Herps) of the Southeast Virtual Walk. In the years since "Herps of the Southeast" started we have received numerous inquiries from teachers throughout the US, so we hope this means it is working! "Herps of the Southeast" is being revised, although much of the original content is still available. If you have any ideas about additional activities or content that would enhance the project, or if you are a teacher and would like to get your students involved in this project, please e-mail David Scott at SREL (scott@srel.edu).

And the kids aren't just writing and learning about herps; they're creating herp habitat! Check out the beginnings of the new East Aiken SPARC wetlands that kids helped build on "Make A Difference Day" on October 23, 1999.