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Richard Bland College & VSU Students Explore Coastal Waters During Spring Break

Students from Richard Bland College of William & Mary and Virginia State University recently partnered on a service learning trip to Hobcaw Barony, South Carolina. While there, students cleared trails, restored historic sites, and learned about the ecology of the area and the incredible histories of the people who lived there.

“This alternative spring break was a great opportunity for students to discover historic areas and cultures in collaboration with students from VSU, to learn something new, and to have an experience they will remember forever,” said Dr. Eric Miller, RBC Biology Professor.

The trip was spearheaded by Michael Rogers, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Leadership at Richard Bland College, along with RBC Professors, Dr. Tiffany Birdsong and Dr. Eric Miller, and Billy Taylor, Coordinator of Campus/Community at Virginia State University.

“I was very excited that RBC and VSU collaborated on this educational experience with the belief that students gained lifelong experiences being together,” said Taylor.

Students stayed at the Baruch Institute at Hobcaw Barony, a 17,000-acre preserve comprised of eight historic rice plantations. Professors from Clemson University and the University of South Carolina provided students with facility tours of the marine and wetlands/forestry labs. Students explored the historic grounds of the barony that featured a slave village that was inhabited until the 1960s.

On a historic river boat tour on the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers, students learned about local plantations and discovered how urbanization has changed some areas while leaving other locations still inhabited by founding families. At the Hampton Plantation, students cleared trails that were established in the 1920s, but had been abandoned since the 1970s. When the students arrived only one garden trail was accessible, but the group successfully cleared six new trails, a task Park Rangers said would have taken a year to complete without the volunteer effort.

More joint learning opportunities with Richard Bland College and Virginia State University students are planned for the future.

About Richard Bland College

Richard Bland College of William & Mary is a selective, residential, two-year College that provides a rich learning experience at a reasonable cost for students preparing for transfer to highly ranked colleges and universities. Richard Bland students rate our professors among the best in the region, yet tuition and fees are among the lowest. The College boasts intercollegiate athletics, signature programs, and a small and diverse student population of 2,200 on a picturesque 750+acre campus located just south of Richmond, Virginia. www.rbc.edu

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