"Every child needs nature. Not just the ones with parents who appreciate nature. Not only those of a certain economic class or culture or gender or sexual identity or set of abilities. Every child." - Richard Louv
an adventure in learning
NWC’s goal is to maintain a welcoming, safe, and inclusive space for learners of all ages. We hope to enhance understanding and to foster connections between community members and the natural world, inspiring them to become passionate, informed citizens. Our programs are rooted in place & experiential-based education philosophies. We provide hands-dirty programming, encouraging participants to step outside of their comfort zone to learn and engage. We also encourage participants to take the lead, sparking curiosity and inquiry while on the trail.
We understand that every participant that comes to NWC might not feel comfortable outside so we strive to meet our guests where they are and to curate positive, fun outdoor experiences. We welcome people with varying abilities to join us and we will do our best to accommodate every learner. Please let us know if someone in your group needs accessible options.
Educational opportunities are available year-round. Scheduled programs are led by a knowledgeable member of the conservation staff or volunteer team. Below you will find program descriptions and related Georgia Standards of Excellence; however, we happily modify our programming to meet the learning objectives of each group leader.
Our interpretive programs include a guided tour, storytelling, and conservation-focused discussions. Students will join a staff conservationist for an 60-minute exploration of the Learning Center and Boardwalk Loop Trail. Topics will focus on wetland ecology, the natural and human histories of the area, the water cycle, and seasonally relevant plants and wildlife.
GSE: S1L1, S3L1, S3L2, S4L1, S5L1, S6E3, S6E6, S7L4, SEV2, SEV4
This program explores the water cycle through interactive learning activities including Project WET’s “The Incredible Journey,” a hands-on Enviroscape demonstration, hands-on water quality testing, and a guided exploration of the Boardwalk Trail in search of erosion, runoff, clouds, and other parts of the water cycle. Discussions will focus on the role of wetlands in the water cycle, how the water cycle impacts us here in Clayton County, and water conservation.
GSE: S4E3, S6E3
Participants will join conservation staff as they check live turtle traps along Boardwalk Trail, assisting in identifying turtle species using a simplified dichotomous key. Some groups opt to allow participants to enter the wetland to assist with trap removal. Discussions will focus on the roles turtles play in local ecosystems, turtle identification, and wetland habitat conservation. This can also be adapted with a focus on zoology, water conservation, and life cycles. This program is best for small groups.
GSE: S1L1b, S2L1a, S3L1, S4L1, S5L1, S7L4a
Leaf packs are clumps of leaf litter found in streams and ponds that provide habitat for aquatic insects. Conservation staff will submerge man-made leaf packs in the wetland in advance to give aquatic insects time to find and inhabit them. Groups are welcome but not required to come put together and submerge their own leaf packs. Participants will remove the leaf packs from the water and look for aquatic creatures, keeping a count of each type found. Many aquatic insects are used by biologists as bioindicators.
The species found will be used to determine water quality, incorporating basic math and reasoning skills. Discussions focus on water quality, water conservation, aquatic ecosystems and food webs, and citizen science. This activity requires the visit be scheduled a minimum of one month in advance to ensure the leaf packs are successful.
GSE: S2L1a, S3L2a, S3L1, SEV1, SEV4
Participants will be introduced to birding through a quick lesson on how to use the provided binoculars. On a guided walk down Boardwalk Trail, participants will look and listen for local or migrating birds. We will observe their environment including the plants and insects along the way. Staff will encourage participants to take in the sights, smells, and sounds while encouraging notetaking as we move around the trail.
The discussion will focus on the roles birds play within the ecosystem and imagery and symbolism in literature and society. This can be connected to texts read in the classroom, such as “The People Could Fly” by Virginia Hamilton. Participants will be given time to work on a narrative describing a human-bird relationship using imagery and time for the sharing of some participants’ stories.
GSE: S7L4, S7L5, ELAGSE7W3, ELAGSE7W10, ELAGSE7SL1
The art program consists of a shortened guided tour of the Boardwalk Trail and approximately an hour of time dedicated to creating wetlands art on canvas. Students will be given brushes, sponges, paint, and other materials to put on canvas what they experienced or learned during the tour.
GSE: S1L1, S3L1, S3L2, S4L1, S5L1, S6E3, S6E6, S7L4, SEV2, SEV4
Groups looking for volunteer hours or to participate in conservation efforts are welcome to schedule a volunteer day. Groups will receive a shortened guided tour, learn about invasive plant species, and then spend time helping staff remove overabundant species such as privet, autumn olive, and honeysuckle. This activity uses experiential education to give participants an opportunity to give back and teaches a skill that could be used at home or in future careers. This is FREE!
This program is for 3rd grade classes willing to connect long-term with NWC to collect data on their school grounds. A member of our conservation staff will visit the school on a recurring basis to lead lessons centered on habitats, wildlife, adaptations, human impact, and biodiversity. This program is brand new. Call for more information.
Large Group Programs
Though we have a small staff, we fully believe the more people we can teach, the better so we also offer opportunities to large groups (50+ participants). With the help of educators, parents, or volunteers, we create learning stations based on the group’s objectives. Our Senior Conservationist plans large group programs on a case-by-case basis. Call to discuss options.
Educators and leaders of civic groups are welcome to utilize our site without taking a guided tour. We offer a picnic pavilion and an outdoor classroom that can be utilized for educational visits as long as they are not reserved for a scheduled group. Even if you do not plan to take a guided tour, please call and discuss your visit with our staff to ensure the availability of our picnic area, Learning Center, and outdoor classroom as they may be reserved for a scheduled guided tour group on the day you intend to visit.
Our guided programs are free. Programs must be reserved in advance. Programs must be at least 10 people.
We currently offer programs Tuesday – Friday when staff is available. We can schedule programs on Saturdays in some cases.
Groups who do not notify us of cancellations will not be allowed to book future tours. This includes cancellations related to weather. We do tours, rain or shine except in dangerous weather conditions.
To request a guided experience, contact us at NewmanWetlandsCenter@ccwa.us or 770-603-5606.