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Educational Programming at the Center

The Mary Kahrs Warnell Forest Education Center offers a wide variety of educational programs that incorporate activities from nationally acclaimed outdoor education programs such as Project Learning Tree, Project Wet and Project WILD. If you don't see a program that meets your needs, we can develop one especially for you- just give us a call!

New Programs!

At the UGA Mary Kahrs Warnell Forest Education Center, we strive to offer innovative and fun educational programs that not only teach students about Georgia’s natural resources but also reinforce the curriculum being taught in the classroom.  That is why we are happy to announce that our programs have been updated to correspond to the new Georgia Standards of Excellence.  Best of all, our programs are offered free of charge!  Please call or email to make your reservation!

Elementary School Programs

Pre-K and Kindergarten (30-minute programs)

Living and Non-Living Things (GSE Science Standards: SKE2a, b; SKL1a, b; SKL2a, b) Students will use their powers of observation to recognize the differences between living and non-living things.  Rocks, soils, plants, and animals will be covered during this fun and hands-on program.

All About Soils! (GSE Science Standards: SKL1a; SKE2a, c) Did you know soil is more than just dirt?  In this program, students will use a soil auger to dig five feet underground to examine the layers of the soil!  Emphasis will be placed on having students use their senses and powers of observation to distinguish between the different layers of the soil.

Meet the Trees! (GSE Science Standards: SKL1a; SKL2b, c) All trees look the same, don’t they?  In this activity, students will hone their scientific observation skills by learning how to look at details to identify several types of trees by their unique features on a nature hike. During the hike, the students will collect leaves and then use them to create artistic leaf rubbings. They will also have the chance to role-play being a plant to see first-hand what plants need to survive.

Live Reptile Show (GSE Science Standards: SKL1a; SKL2a) Students will have a chance to get up close and personal with several captive-bred, non-venomous snakes and a gopher tortoise while learning about the characteristics of reptiles during this exciting program!  

First Grade (45-minute programs)

Plant Life Cycles: Every Tree for Itself! (GSE Science Standards: S1L1a, b, c) Students will learn about the basic needs of a tree including: the different tree parts, how trees grow, and the things trees need to survive.  Each student will have the opportunity to participate in a role-playing game emphasizing how trees compete for resources to stay alive.  

Second Grade (1-hour programs)

Plant Life Cycles: Every Tree for Itself! (GSE Science Standards: S2L1b, c, d) Students will learn about the basic needs of a tree including: the different tree parts, how trees grow, and the things trees need to survive.  Each student will have the opportunity to create their own personal tree cookie and participate in a role-playing game emphasizing how trees compete for resources to stay alive.  

Native American Uses of the Forest (GSE Social Studies Standards: SS3H1b) Have your students ever wondered how people survived without modern conveniences such as grocery stores and shopping malls?  They will find out during this program about Georgia’s First People, the Creek Indians.  After learning how the Creek utilized native plants for food, clothing, shelter and medicine, students will participate in a role-playing activity that will teach them the importance of oral tradition in the Creek culture and how to recognize several native forest plants.Trees as Habitats

Third Grade (1-hour programs)

Rocks and Minerals (GSE Science Standards: S3E1a) What is the difference between a rock and a mineral?  Are all rocks and minerals the same?  How do scientists study rocks and minerals?  Students will ask questions and analyze data to classify rocks and minerals by their physical attributes to answer these questions and more during this hands-on program.    

Soil Science (GSE Science Standards: S3E1b, c) Did you know soil is more than just dirt?  In this program, students will use a soil auger to dig five feet underground to examine the layers of the soil!  For each soil layer, students will collect data on soil properties such as color and texture and then use the data to classify the soil type.

Meet the Gopher Tortoise!  (GSE Science Standards: S3L1a, b, c; S3L2a, b) Georgia’s State Reptile, the gopher tortoise, is specifically adapted to live in the Coastal Plains.  Students will have the opportunity to meet a real, live gopher tortoise while discovering how the gopher tortoise has specialized external features and adaptations to help it survive and thrive in its habitat. In addition, reasons for the decline of gopher tortoise populations and possible solutions will be explored.  

Adaptation Artistry (GSE Science Standards: S3L1b) Animals have a wide variety of adaptations that allow them to survive and thrive in their environment.  During this artistic activity, students will create imaginary birds or fish using a variety of physical adaptations (beaks or mouths, wings or fins, coloration, and more).  They will also design a habitat for their creature and describe how their creatures are adapted to survive in the habitat.

Birds vs. Cats!: A Wildlife and Habitat Game (GSE Science Standards: S3L1c) By playing a fast-paced game of Birds vs. Cats, students will learn how an behavioral adaptations help animals survive in their habitat as well as how conservation techniques can be used to improve the habitat for wildlife species.

Pollution in the Environment (GSE Science Standards: S3L2a, b) What would you do if someone gave you a piece of property on the Ogeechee River?  Students will develop an imaginary piece of riverfront property and then demonstrate how everyone contributes to land and water pollution during this simulation game.  Never fear! Solutions to the pollution will also be brainstormed and implemented to show how we can all work together to stop pollution.

Fourth Grade (1-2 hour programs)

Water Cycle Simulation Game (GSE Science Standards: S4E3a, b) Students will become a molecule of H2O and cycle through the water cycle during this active simulation game!  In addition to learning about the multiple pathways water can take through the water cycle, students discover how water changes states from a solid to a liquid to a gas and back again.  Students will also make a Water Cycle Words Bracelet to help them remember the major parts of the water cycle.  

The Food Web Game! (GSE Science Standards: S4L1a, b) The flow of energy through food chains and food webs is demonstrated during this active, outdoor game.  Each student will journey through six different food chains, starting as a producer and ending up as a consumer and/or a decomposer.  At the end of the game, the different food chains will be combined to create one big food web.

Oh Deer! (GSE Science Standards: S4L1c, d) What happens to an ecosystem if there are too many deer?  What if there are too few? Find out during this active game where students generate a data set by pretending to be both deer and the habitat.  The data generated during the game is then analyzed and discussed to find out what happens when plants or animals become scarce, extinct, or over-abundant.

Gopher Tortoise Habitat Mystery (GSE Science Standards: S4L1a, b, c, d) Gopher tortoises used to live in the forest at the Mary Kahrs Warnell Forest Education Center but now they only live on a small powerline area of the property.  Why did they move and what can be done to bring them back to the forest?  Students will solve this wildlife mystery while learning about food webs, the role of organisms in ecosystems, and the effect of change on an ecosystem.

Fifth Grade (1-hour programs)

Constructive and Destructive Forces (GSE Science Standards: S5E1a, b) Students will learn about the constructive and destructive forces that have shaped our landscape over time during this interactive talk.  Earthquakes will be modeled using Pop-Tarts and the formation of Stone Mountain and Providence Canyon will be simulated during the program.

Magnets: Using a Compass (GSE Science Standards: S5P3b) Do you know how a compass works?  Can you navigate using a compass?  During this program, students will learn how to use a compass and navigate a simple course their new skill.  The influence of magnetic items and/or magnetic fields on the magnetic needle of the compass will be demonstrated and discussed as well.

Classification of Organisms (GSE Science Standards: S5L1a, b) Taxonomy is the science of classifying organisms into groups.  Students will have the opportunity to be taxonomists as they classify photos of “aliens” from another planet into taxonomic groups.  The “aliens” will then be revealed to be actual, endangered plant and animal species and the students can see if they classified the organisms into the  correct groups!       

Middle School Programs

Sixth Grade (1-hour programs)

Water Cycle Simulation Game (GSE Science Standards: S6E3a,b) Students will become a molecule of H2O and cycle through the water cycle during this active simulation game!  In addition to learning about the multiple pathways water can take through the water cycle, students discover where water is located on Earth’s surface and the relative proportion of water at each location. Students will also make a Water Cycle Words Bracelet to help them remember the major parts of the water cycle.  

Soil Science (GSE Science Standards: S6E5h) Did you know soil is more than just dirt?  In this program, students will use a soil auger to dig five feet underground to examine the layers of the soil!  For each soil layer, students will collect data on soil properties such as color and texture and then use the data to classify the soil type.

Seventh Grade (1-4 hour programs)

Classification of Organisms (GSE Science Standards: S7L1a) Taxonomy is the science of classifying organisms into groups.  Students will have the opportunity to be taxonomists as they classify photos of “aliens” from another planet into taxonomic groups.  The “aliens” will then be revealed to be actual, endangered plant and animal species and the students can see if they classified the organisms into the correct groups!  

Population Ecology of the Gopher Tortoise (GSE Science Standards: S7L4a, b, c, d) Using Georgia’s State reptile, the gopher tortoise, as a model, students will learn the basic principles of population ecology including energy transfer and the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem by solving a Gopher Tortoise Habitat Mystery.  This program requires one day in the classroom (one hour) and one day in the field (2-3 hours).

Eighth Grade (1-hour programs)

Magnets: Using a Compass (GSE Science Standards: S8P5a) Do you know how a compass works?  Can you navigate using a compass?  During this program, students will learn how to use a compass and navigate a simple course their new skill.  The influence of magnetic items and/or magnetic fields on the magnetic needle of the compass will be demonstrated and discussed as well.

High School Environmental Science Programs

Guest Lectures         

History of Natural Resources in Georgia (GSE Science Standards: SEV4a, b; SEV5a, b, c) A PowerPoint presentation covering the history of natural resources in Georgia from pre-historic times to present day.  This is an excellent introduction to environmental science courses.

Ecological Succession and Biomes (GSE Science Standards: SEV2c) A PowerPoint presentation covering primary and secondary ecological succession as well as the classification of Earth's biomes. A hands-on Biomes of the World activity can also be included if time permits.

Forest Management (GSE Science Standards: SEV4a; SEV3b, c; SEV5a) A PowerPoint Presentation about Forest Management in Georgia.  Includes information on how forests are managed, sustainability, the economic and environmental benefits of forests, and challenges facing our forests now and in the future.

Longleaf Pines and Gopher Tortoises (GSE Science Standards: SEVa, b)     A PowerPoint focused on the Longleaf Pine Savanna Ecosystem and the keystone species, the Gopher Tortoise.  A live gopher tortoise will also visit the classroom!

Hands-On Activities        

History of Climate Change Timeline (GSE Science Standards: SEV2a, b)     An interactive timeline activity that covers atmospheric CO2 concentrations over time as well as notable people, events, and policies related to climate change.

Is there Water on Zork? (GSE Science Standards: SEV1e)     A classroom lab activity where the students use the scientific method and proper lab techniques to identify water from eight different samples of clear liquids.  It is more difficult than it sounds!

Water and Carbon Cycle Simulations (GSE Science Standards:    SEV1c) A classroom lab activity where the students participate in a water cycle simulation and/or a carbon cycle simulation.  Students also get to make a water or carbon cycle bracelet to take home with them.

Non-Point Source Water Pollution Prevention (GSE Science Standards: SEV1e, SEV4a, b) A lecture and associated activity that focuses on watersheds and non-point source water pollution.

400-Acre Wood Forest Management Activity (GSE Science Standards: SEV4a; SEV5a, c, d) A forest management simulation activity where the students inherit a piece of forest property and are responsible for developing a management plan for the property.   After they create their ideal plan, they are given a cost and revenue worksheet where they have to calculate income and expenses for each activity. The students quickly realize that forest management is often driven by financial considerations.

World Forest Marketplace (GSE Science Standards: SEV4a, b; SEV5a, c, d) Students engage in a global economic activity where countries produce and sell products created from their forest resources.  This activity allows students to experience firsthand how economics and global demand can quickly lead to deforestation.

Oh Deer! (GSE Science Standards: SEV1a, b; SEV2c, d)  Population dynamics and predator-prey relationships are illustrated by playing a game called Oh Deer!  Data generated during gameplay are then used to create and analyze population graphs.

Wildlife Habitat Management Game (GSE Science Standards: SEV1a, b; SEV2c, d) Students learn the principles of wildlife habitat management by designing a habitat for an organism and then testing their designs during an active predator-prey simulation game.  This activity can be adapted to focus on specific biomes, habitats, and/or organisms.

Additional Programs

Forest Measurements I: Orienteering

Students will learn how to read topgraphic maps, measure distances by pacing and determine direction with a cmpas and then put their new skills to the test by completing a simple orienteering course.

Forest Measurements II: Timber Cruising

Students will be taught the basics of forest measurements including how to measure tree heights and diameters, age living trees and determine the volume of wood in a tree. Different product classes will be discussed and students will have the opportunity to determine the value of a hypothetic forest.

The Southern Forest

Students will have the opportunity view several unique forest types on the Warnell Forest including the oldest forest ecosystem in the southeast, the longleaf pine-turkey oak forest. By collecting and analyzing data, students will learn how factors such as shade tolerance, temperature, soils, water availability and plant reproductive strategies all influence the composition and structure of forest communities.

400-Acre Wood

In this activity, students will have the opportunity to manage a 400-acre tract of forestland for timber, wildlife and recreational uses. Both environmental and economic impacts of management decisions will be emphasized during the course of this activity.

Forest Attitudes and Issues

Students will become aware of the numerous pressures on our forest resources by participating in a role-playing activity where they have to determine the fate of a hypothetical piece of forest land.

Boy Scouts of America Programs

The following Cub Scouts programs are available the Warnell Forest Education Center:

  • Tigers: Tigers in the Wild
  • Wolf: Finding Your Way
  • Bear: Fur, Feathers, and Ferns
  • Webelo: Earth Rocks!
  • Webelo: Into the Wild
  • Webelo: Into the Woods

 

The following Boy Scout Merit Badge programs are available at the Warnell Forest Education Center:

  • Forestry
  • Nature
  • Environmental Science
  • Soil and Water Conservation
  • Fish and Wildlife Management
  • Mammal Study
  • Bird Study
  • Reptile and Amphibian Study
  • Plant Science
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Sustainability

Please call for more information on merit badge programs.

We hope to install a sense of appreciation and awareness of forest ecosystems, interpret historical and modern people-forest relationships, and convey the need for and benefits of responsible forest management.