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APSU geology and biology students help restore endangered ecosystems

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – In January, seven female Austin Peay State University students traveled south to help restore a disappearing ecosystem in Texas’ West Gulf Coastal Plain.

The students, all geology and biology majors, spent five days hiking through the swampy terrain of the Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary, planting some 11,000 longleaf pine trees.

Austin Peay student Brianna Turnbo and Courtney Grisham plants trees in Texas while on winter break from APSU. (Lisa Tucker)
Austin Peay student Brianna Turnbo and Courtney Grisham plants trees in Texas while on winter break from APSU. (Lisa Tucker)

According to The Nature Conservancy’s website, “Longleaf pine forests are among the most rapidly disappearing ecosystems in the southeastern United States.”

The students gave up part of their winter holiday to volunteer at the sanctuary and at Big Thicket National Preserve, as part of the APSU Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement’s (CSLCE) alternative break trip.

The newly formed center has hosted more than 20 alternative break trips since 2009, CSLCE director Alexandra Wills said.

The alternative break program was created to allow students to explore a learning environment outside of a classroom setting, while engaging in community-service driven projects.

For more information, contact Wills at 931.221.6590 or at

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