Aaron Stoler on Lake Fred

GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP – Missing nature? Looking for a fun science lesson? Aaron Stoler, assistant professor of environmental science at Stockton University, is using his cellphone and Facebook Live to share lessons from the Pinelands campus and Lake Fred.

Stoler’s first lesson on Facebook Live was a visit to five experimental islands his ecology class created on Stockton’s Lake Fred this semester to see what kind of life might develop.

The remaining live streams in May will take place on the Stockton School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics’s Facebook page 3 p.m. Fridays, weather permitting.

“These lessons will be understandable and enjoyable for middle to high school students as well as an opportunity for the general public to learn more about the Pine Barrens we live in,” Stoler said.

Future lessons planned are:

May 1 – A Frog’s Haven:  Join Stoler as he explores a vernal wetland on Stockton’s campus. He will be trying to catch some frogs (and not drop his phone into the water). He’ll talk about the ecology of these wetlands and how they are connected with the forest around them.

May 8 – Burning it Up: Did you know that burning a forest is absolutely essential to keep it healthy? Many forests depend on frequent disturbances to maintain diversity and productivity. In this livestream, Stoler will take you on a hike through some of Stockton’s experimental burn plots. He’ll talk about the science behind those experiments, identify some of the plants and talk about the ecology of fire-mediated succession.

May 15 – Carnivorous Plants: One of the most unique features of the Pine Barrens is its incredible abundance of carnivorous plants. The two most common plants are sundews and pitcher plants. In this live stream, Stoler will take a muddy hike through a swamp in search of sundews. He will talk about the science of swamps and the ecology of carnivorous plants.

May 22 – Swamp Wars: Some of Stoler’s favorite places on Stockton’s campus are the Atlantic white cedar swamps. These majestic ecosystems are truly reminiscent of the dark forests from fairy tales. In this live stream, he will hike through a white cedar swamp, discuss the ecology of swamps and identify some of their most important plants. He may even catch a frog.

May 29 – Exploration of a Marsh: Stoler will motor along the Mullica River in a powered canoe. Along the way, he will point out interesting features of inter-tidal marshes. He will bring his waders, so he can hop out and give viewers a close-up view as he explores the marsh ecosystems.

Learn more about Stockton’s Environmental Science programs at stockton.edu/sciences-math.

Categories: Downbeach

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.