A Place for Free Community Education
A Brief History
Newman Wetlands Center is the focal point of the Clayton County Water Authority’s community education efforts. NWC is a natural area dedicated to environmental education that includes approximately one mile of trails through wetland and forest habitats and a learning center with a classroom and exhibits. This space was conceptualized by Melvin L. Newman, then the General Manager of CCWA, as a place for free community education about the crucial role wetlands play in protecting Clayton County’s water resources.
Since opening our gates to the public in 1995, Newman Wetlands Center has provided a safe, outdoor learning space for hundreds of thousands of people across Metro Atlanta and beyond. People come to learn about wetlands, bird, photograph wildflowers, and to find a peaceful place to relax, and spend time with loved ones. We lead hands-on public and private guided experiences throughout the year. We host a free wetlands art exhibit, Unfiltered, and the Wetlands and Watershed Festival annually.
Originally purchased in the 1970s to be a part of CCWA’s former land application operations, the area including NWC was converted to a wetland to mitigate wetlands flooded by the construction of Shoal Creek Reservoir. The land came with a rich history. It was used for timber harvesting, cotton farming by the Freeman family, and as a Boy Scouts of America camp for Black scouts prior to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We weave these stories into our educational programs to remind visitors that the land is an integral part of our community.