Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center:
A Great Place for a Class Trip
By: Michele Babcock-Nice
February 8, 2012
On January 26, 2012, my son’s class at his Lilburn, Georgia school visited the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford. What a wonderful place to visit and take a class for an educationally-related field trip! Not having ever visited the Center before, I had heard great things about it since I have known teachers who attended professional development conferences in science there in the past.
On the class field trip, my son, his class, teachers, and several parent chaperones, including myself, had the privilege of visiting the Center, enjoying a guided tour of the many exhibits, walking on a short hike through the wooded area surrounding the Center, and having an opportunity to try out the exhibit activities, especially those related to water and outer space.
The tour guide, Miss Heather, who led the students throughout the Center and on the hike was very knowledgeable, professional, and patient. She provided the students with much useful information about water, water conservation, hydroelectric power, ‘going green,’ outer space, the environment, and caring for and appreciating our environment. Heather taught the students and answered their questions, while also providing them with opportunities for hands-on experiences about the demonstrations and exhibits she presented to them.
My son especially enjoyed the outer space exhibit, where he was able to manipulate a mechanical ‘arm’ to grasp an object, wearing a NASA space suit in just his size, understanding about how astronauts eat and relieve themselves while in outer space, and so much more.
In the exhibit and activity area that focused on water, my son learned about various mechanical devices used for transporting water, the melting of ice, creatures in our environment that are dependent on water as their habitat, and additional activities that I wish we had more time to experience.
Luckily, the students were able to participate in a short hike in the woods next to the Center. Though it was a wet day from having previously rained, everyone went on the hike to the circular rest area where Heather taught students about the environment and animals that live in the woods. Students could view bird and squirrel nests in the trees, currently without leaves during the winter.
Students also learned about various other animals that live in the woods and rely on the beautiful, natural wooded habitat as their living space. Heather also spoke to students about the reasons for the Center being constructed in the area that it was, due to the expected population of Gwinnett County being projected to continue growing throughout the next decades.
After students finished their tour of the Center and outdoor hike, everyone returned to eat their sack lunches in the Center’s eating area that provided enough seating for approximately 60 of us. The eating area was very comfortable with large windows that allowed for plenty of light and a view of the beautiful outdoors behind the Center.
All in all, I highly recommend a class trip – or a family trip – to the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. Admission prices are extremely reasonable, particularly for those youngsters who are under 12 years old. The Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center is located at 2020 Clean Water Drive in Buford, Georgia 30519, and can be found on the Internet at http://www.gwinnettehc.org. Consider visiting the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center today!