The Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization (CRESO) is an education/research
program with a mission of:
high school, and undergraduate students opportunities for unique field research and extended learning experiences in areas
of research design and protocols, data management and analysis, biology, and resources conservation and management and promoting community outreach and
education through student-driven
programs and presentations.
Established in 1989, CRESO is supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE), AndersonCounty Schools, Oak Ridge Schools,
the University of Tennessee Forest Resources Research & Education Center, and the Environmental Sciences Division of the
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Research focuses on inventory and long-term monitoring of the population status and activity
patterns of selected species in Anderson County, TN. Examples include bird banding of breeding migrants, dynamics of canopy
gaps, radiotelemetry of snakes and turtles, monitoring of terrestrial and aquatic amphibians, and using trained "turtle
dogs" for determining population densities and age structure of the eastern box turtle, the TN state reptile.
Students share their project findings and conservation ideas at science fairs and professional meetings,
in scientific journals, on the CRESO website, and through outreach workshops including K-12 classrooms and community groups
such as Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning. Several CRESO students have continued their research after entering college
and subsequently published their findings as a senior thesis or in peer-reviewed journals. New research and outreach initiatives
include developing and piloting a standards-based box turtle curriculum, assisting local elementary schools in wetland creation/restoration
and study methods, and providing guidance about wetland curriculum design. The program is coordinated by teachers of biology,
math, and science from area schools, and instruction is further augmented and enriched by volunteer scientists, conservationists,
and natural resource professionals who give their time and share their experience with CRESO students.