DSLCC Hosts 33rd Field Ecology Governor’s School

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Categories: community, Programs, student success     /     Tags: community, Governor's School, students

For the thirty-third year, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge hosted the Field Ecology Summer Regional Governor’s School from June 12 to July 7. Twenty-four students from nine middle and high schools in the DSLCC service area learned about ecology by studying nature outdoors rather than in the classroom. The students examined forests and wildlife throughout the highlands of Virginia and West Virginia.

The highlight of the first half of the program was a three-day primitive camping trip to the Laurel Fork region of Highland County, where the Governor’s School continued its long-term monitoring of the salamander population of the area. Students captured, identified, and released 177 salamanders during a day-long study at eight elevations.

In the second half of the program the Governor’s School investigated forest ecology, with a three-day camping trip to the Greenbrier State Forest near Caldwell, WV, and additional trips to Roaring Run in Botetourt County and the Cranberry Glades in West Virginia. The participants learned how to identify and measure trees to assess forest diversity and quality.

The program also included trips to Douthat State Park in Bath County, VA, Gaudineer Knob and Scenic Area in Randolph County, WV, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV.

During the four weeks of the Governor’s School, participants photographed, identified, and researched local flora and fauna to produce an electronic “field guide” for each of the two sessions.

Jane DeGroot, biology teacher at Covington High School, and Susan Rollinson, former chemistry and environmental science instructor at DSLCC, were co-directors and instructors. Josh Craft,  a Clifton Middle School history teacher, was an instructor for the salamander study, and Danielle Dulaney, a 2008 graduate of Alleghany High School and a biology teacher in Stafford County, was an instructor for the forestry session. Cody Daugherty, a pre-med student at Bridgewater College, and Molly Austin, an environmental horticulture student at Virginia Tech, were mentor-aides for the course.

Students are invited to participate based on their interest, maturity, and potential for excelling in biology. To be considered, a first-time participant must be a rising 9th or 10th grade student in the DSLCC area. In early March, science teachers, guidance counselors, and local gifted education teachers and administrators encourage qualified students to complete an application. Home-schooled and private-schooled students are welcome to apply provided that they are residents of Virginia. The Governor’s School is one of twenty-one Summer Regional Governor’s Schools sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education, local school divisions, and host schools, such as DSLCC.

The Governor’s School web site ( has more information and many photos of this year’s activities.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the Governor’s School or provide input on future activities is invited to contact their local gifted program administrator, Jane DeGroot at Covington High School, or Susan Rollinson at

Fourteen area students recently participated in the first session of the 33rd annual Field Ecology Summer Regional Governor’s School hosted at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, June 12 – June 22. Pictured at Douthat State Park: (from left) Katherine Dupoise (Bath County High School), Kyle Kendall (Lylburn Downing Middle School), Luke Fisher (Covington High School), Ty Rose (CHS), Jalen Angell (CHS), Peyton Reese (Central Academy Middle School), Zoe Spangler (CHS), Vanessa Lima (CAMS), Christen Holloway (CHS), Hannah Breeden (CHS), Jack Butler (CAMS), Gabe Meadows (Clifton Middle School), Grace Brittain (Rockbridge County High School) and Tori Graham (BCHS).

Ten area students recently participated in the second session of the 33rd annual Field Ecology Summer Regional Governor’s School hosted at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College June 26 – July 7.  Pictured at Greenbrier State Forest: (from left) Darcy Ross (Clifton Middle School), Shannon Filer (Central Academy Middle School), Katie Woodward (Covington High School), Tyler Dawson (Alleghany High School), Nathan LePere (Parry McCluer High School), Coult Fussell (Bath County High School), Gracie Conner (CMS), Madison Mullins (Read Mountain Middle School), Keely Lowman (AHS) and Savannah Angle (CMS).