Developing a Nature Trail on Campus

I invited Mrs. Svetlana Jovanović from the Jevremovac Botanical Garden to help us identify some of the trees on the secondary school campus. My idea is to develop the campus as a “living laboratory” that can be used by the science classes of ISB. She identified 34 different species of tree, including my favorite, a Serbian or Pančić Spruce tree, which is native to Serbia and Bosnia. We will now get signs made identify the trees with the scientific, English, and Serbian names. I will ask the science classes to “tell the story” of each of the trees and develop an on line nature trail with photos and information about each tree. Perhaps with the latest technology, the information can be retrieved through smart phones from the sign itself.

I learned of Mrs. Jovanović from her book, which she kindly autographed. She works as a curator at the Jevremovac Botanical Garden. The garden is part of the University of Belgrade’s Botany and Forestry departments and is located in Dorčol district in downtown Belgrade. I’ve visited several times (link here) and have used her excellent guide book to the garden to identify trees in the city. She spent a lot of time identifying the trees, taking leaf samples back to the garden and walking the campus for several days.

In addition to the identification of trees, we have put up bird and owl nests to encourage birds to nest on campus. Dr. Milan Ružić worked with our students on this project as well as giving presentations on Serbia’s nature. I would like to include the Garden Club on this living laboratory project as well. This can be combined with recycling, reducing waste, composting, etc. and give our students a green consciousness and sustainability ethos. Hopefully, someday, I can convince the Board of Trustees to buy a piece of land for the school to nurture and it can serve as a school forest. Ideally it would be a rehabilitation project in an area needing preservation. Generations of students and faculty can develop and learn from the site.

I would like to thank Svetlana for her work and I’ll do another post when the signs are completed.

I am a former biology teacher and have a love and interest in nature and wilderness. Serbia is desperately needing raise its environmental ethic and hopefully, ISB can play a small part in developing this.

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