Melvin L. Newman Wetlands Center


Our mission is to educate the public on wetlands conservation and inspire community action for the health of our local watershed. 

 

Learning Center

2755 Freeman Road - Hampton, Georgia 30228 - (770) 603-5606

 

History

Newman Wetlands Center is the focal point of the Clayton County Water Authority's community education efforts. NWC 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 the cycle of water.

The land, purchased in the 1970s, came with a rich history. Over the past century, it was used for timber harvest, cotton farming, and as a Boy Scouts of America camp for African American Scouts prior to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Originally purchased to be a part of CCWA’s former land application operations, the areas including Newman Wetlands Center and Camp Orr Lake were turned into a wetland mitigation site to replace wetlands flooded by the construction of Shoal Creek Reservoir.

The mitigation project was done in several parts: the restoration of Pate’s Creek, the conversion of Camp Orr Lake (site of the former Boy Scouts Camp Orr) into a restored wetland area, and the building of levees in the area that would become Newman Wetlands Center.

Since opening our gates in 1995, we have provided a safe, outdoor learning space for hundreds of thousands of people across Metro Atlanta and beyond and an incredible wetland habitat for thousands of species of wildlife.

 

Learning Center & Picnic Area

The Learning Center features an indoor classroom, exhibit area, and public restrooms. Exhibits focus on the importance of wetlands, CCWA’s sustainable water re-use system, local wildlife, and conservation. Be sure to check out our Honey Bee Observation Hive in the exhibit area to see the inner workings of a live bee colony.

The classroom is home to Unfiltered, a wetlands-inspired art exhibit held during the month of February. It is also used as a learning space and conference facility by local educators and conservation-oriented nonprofits.

There are picnic tables are near the parking lot and are available on a first-arrival basis unless otherwise reserved for a scheduled guided tour. We do not rent the area for outside use. Please leave grills, balloons, and other plastic decorations at home.

Parking and admission are FREE!

Learning Center Hours                                                            

Tuesday - Saturday 9 am - 5 pm

Closed for special events, meetings, and holidays as posted.

 

TrailsBoardwalk Trail in the Summer

Our Boardwalk Trail is a 1/2 mile long and provides an easy walk on a surface alternating between crushed stone and wooden boardwalk. It is flat with several benches, covered areas, and great views. There are also two new primitive trails that

loop back to the main trail.

Visitors are welcome to either wander through our wetlands on their own or they may wish to be part of a larger group guided by our staff. Groups of 10 or more who wish to tour the Center with a guide may reserve a time by calling 770.603.5606. For detailed information on guided programs, view our Guided Programs page. 

We also host public programming for all ages throughout the year. Click here for a schedule.

Trails Open Daily

March - October: 7am - 7pm

November - February: 7am - 5pm

Trail Guidelines

1. Respect the wildlife & other visitors by using your quiet voice on the trail.

2. Protect sensitive plants & wildlife by remaining on the designated paths.

3. Our trails are for walking, wheelchairs, & strollers. No running, jogging, or riding bikes

4. Service dogs are welcome. Other furry friends must stay at home.

5. Tobacco, alcohol, & illegal drugs are strictly prohibited. 

6. Leave no trace. Do not pick flowers, harm wildlife, or litter. 

 

Wetlands & Wildlife

Georgia wetlands are vital to wildlife, serving as a nursery, stopover spot, and wintering ground to thousands of species. As you walk around the Boardwalk Trail, you might be fortunate enough to see some of the many wildlife species that make the Wetlands Center their home. Over 170 bird species**, beavers, river otters, grey foxes, raccoons, muskrats, deer, opossums, minks, and many species of reptiles, insects, and amphibians have been spotted from the trails.  

Wetlands are essential for humans as well. Wetlands act as nature’s water filter, cleaning water as it slowly passes through hydrophytic (water-loving) vegetation and through the muck into the groundwater. Newman Wetlands Center provides a natural filtration system along Pate’s Creek, enhancing water quality downstream at Blalock Reservoir, one of Clayton County’s drinking water reservoirs.

Learn more about how CCWA uses wetlands to enhance our water resources here.

**A checklist has been developed for the Water Authority properties based on documented observations by Wetlands Center staff naturalists, seasonal bird surveys and the observations of other experienced area birders. "Birding Checklist."

Please report any sightings of interesting wildlife or bird species not included on the checklist to the Wetlands Center staff naturalist.

Great Blue Heron along Pate's Creek

 

 

We look forward to your visit!

                                                                                                                      

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