Educational opportunities are available year-round for all ages. Scheduled groups visiting Newman Wetlands Center will be led by a knowledgeable member of the conservation staff while experiencing the sights and sounds of a wetland habitat. NWC’s goal is to maintain a welcoming, safe, and inclusive space for learners of all ages. We focus on wetlands to enhance understanding and to foster connections between community members and the natural world, encouraging them to become passionate, informed citizens.
Details about our standard programs can be found below; however, we frequently tailor our programming to meet the needs of educators and their students. At the request of educators or group leaders, NWC staff can incorporate different topics and hands-on activities to complement classroom learning. Our programming is aligned with Georgia Standards of Excellence. Look for “GSE” under each program.
NWC also offers workshops and educational programs for the general public including a monthly Swamp Stroll, wildlife experiences, and nature journaling. Click here to see our upcoming events.
Our interpretive programs include a guided tour, storytelling, and conservation-focused discussions. Students will join a staff conservationist for an hour long exploration of the Learning Center and Wetland Center trails. Topics will focus on wetland ecology, the natural and human histories of the area, and seasonally relevant plants and wildlife. This will be adjusted to complement the group’s learning objectives.
GSE: S1L1, S3L1, S3L2, S4L1, S5L1, S6E3, S6E6, S7L4, SEV2, SEV4
Coming soon: Wetlands & Climate Change, Nature Writing
We offer a variety of opportunities for experiential learning at Newman Wetlands Center. All of these programs include an introduction to wetlands and a guided tour. The programs we conduct most often include:
Wetlands & the Cycle of Water
This program explores the water cycle through interactive learning activities including Project WET’s “The Incredible Journey,” a hands-on Enviroscape demonstration, 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. ($1.00/person)
GSE: S4E3, S6E3
Wetland Turtle Catch & Release
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. ($1.00/person)
GSE: S1L1b, S2L1a, S3L1, S4L1, S5L1, S7L4a
Leaf Pack Exploration
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. 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. ($1.00/person)
GSE: S2L1a, S3L2a, S3L1, SEV1, SEV4
Storytelling with Birds
Participants will be introduced to bird watching 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. ($5.00/person)
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 species such as Chinese privet, autumn olive, and Japanese 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. Other volunteer activities could be arranged instead of invasive species removal. This is FREE!
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 (60+ participants). With the help of educators, parents, or volunteers, we can create learning stations based on the group’s objectives. Participants may start with a tour of the Boardwalk Trail with one of our conservationists and then move to a learning activity where they act out the parts of a water cycle or make a human food web. Other stations may include art, investigating our Wetlands Enviroscape model, etc. Our Senior Conservationist will plan large group programs on a case-by-case basis. Please let us know if you use a particular teaching strategy such as project-based learning or place-based learning so we can incorporate that into our program.
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.
Guided Program Policies
- The general guided program price is $1.00/person, with a minimum group size of 10 people. We only accept cash and check as payment.
- We currently offer programs Monday through Friday. No dates are guaranteed until a Group Confirmation Form is completed and returned to NWC staff. Please call or email to request a form.
- Since we have a small staff, some large groups may have to come over multiple days. Details can be discussed to find the best options for your student group.
- Cancellations must be given two weeks in advance. Please see the Group Confirmation page for more details concerning this policy.
To request a guided program, contact Danielle Bunch, Senior Conservation Specialist, at 770-603-5606 or firstname.lastname@example.org