What is the Tumbling Creek Trails and Research Area?

Have you visited Tumbling Creek Trails and Research Area? Grab a friend, your dog or yourself and take a walk on the wild side.

The 77-acre forest in Oakwood, Georgia, is home to many educational and recreational activities.  Some of the events include hiking, running, high school events and bike riding, according to Dr. Natalie Hyslop, an associate professor of biology.

Students for Environmental Awareness show off their haul after a creek cleanup.

The author, left, and members of Students for Environmental Awareness show off their haul after a creek cleanup. (Photo by Rebecca Benfield)

One particular club, the Students for Environmental Awareness, spends a couple hours once a semester to clean up the creek. The SEA teaches students about the environment and how they can make a positive change to the scenery.

The Students for Environmental Awareness organizes a Tumbling Creek clean up every year in order to pick up “all kinds of trash,” SEA President Rebecca Benfield said.

“Most of the trash we find is either washed up and accumulated during rain, left there years ago by people who used to live on the land or dumped by nearby residents. We usually recycle what we can, then leave the remaining trash collected for plant ops to dispose of,” Benfield said.

Old tires are not native creek life, and thus should be removed. (Photo by Joshua Glasco)

Old tires are not native creek life, and thus should be removed. (Photo by Joshua Glasco)

“Lots of consumer-based items, mainly food. Strangest item I found was a large rusted cabinet.” club member Christian Klausmeyer said. “Not really sure how or why it was there yet were able to dispose of it properly. Definitely some disgusting moments comprised of dirty plastic bags, yet still rewarding that we actually got it.”

Science professors hold labs at the creek in order to educate students on the many different science aspects of the creek. Hyslop researches problems in wildlife conservation; her areas of expertise are wildlife ecology, conservation and management, herpetology and population ecology. Dr. James Diggs, an assistant professor of biology, researches plants of the southeastern Piedmont. Margi Flood, an associate professor of biology, researches population and community ecology of macroinvertebrates.

Tumbling Creek hosts an assortment of living species. According to the Tumbling Creek website, species include the American Beech, which can grow to about 100 feet; birds such as the American robin that “hunts in fields for insects and/like earthworms”; and shrubs and vines such as crossvine, which blooms in either April or May with red and yellow flowers shaped like trumpets.

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