Discovery Garden: eight years of summer wonder on campus

Posted on August 30, 2016

DIG Jan and kids overhead shot

Dr. Jan Haldeman surrounded by campers

What happens on the Erskine campus during the summer?

“Discovery Garden,” also known as “DIG,” a nature program for children, is one example of activities that relieve the summer doldrums (but not the heat) in Due West.

Discovery Garden marked its eighth consecutive summer at Erskine this year, with a session for children aged five to seven July 25-29 followed by a week for children aged eight to eleven August 1-5.

Co-directing the program were Professor Emerita of Biology Dr. Jan Haldeman and Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Naoma Nelsen, along with artist Barbara Ervin ’77, a retired elementary school art teacher who has taught art at

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Photography by a camper: reflections in the garden pond

Erskine and is currently on the adjunct faculty at Anderson University.

This year’s theme was “Native Trees in the Garden,” Haldeman said. Sessions were conducted in the Pressly Heritage Garden and the Daniel•Moultrie Science Center.

“The children constructed plant presses, collected leaves, pressed and dried them, and assembled them into a notebook with information about each tree,” she said.

“The younger group constructed bamboo bee houses that are placed in garden trees for pollinator bees. The older group practiced nature photography featuring trees and associated nature scenes.”

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Design created by campers

Professor of Biology Dr. David Ritland presented a session on insects this year with the help of Anna Mei Grier, daughter of Erskine history professors Dr. David Grier and Dr. Sandra Chaney.

Also assisting with Discovery Garden were student intern Rachel Lloyd, a biology major and Presidential Scholar, and two DIG alumni who served as volunteers—Erzhan Cochran, Haldeman’s grandson, and Nellie Morton, granddaughter of Erskine archivist Edith Brawley.

Discovery Garden campers’ photography and other materials and images are displayed in the Daniel•Moultrie Science Center on the first floor, across from Botany Lab Room 136.