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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 Warnell Forest Education Center, we strive to offer innovative and fun educational programs that not only teach students about Georgia's forest resources but also reinforce the curriculum being taught in the classroom. That is why this year we are happy to announce a new program list that has been updated to correspond to the new Georgia Performance Standards.

Elementary School Programs

Kindergarten - First Grade

Soil Rocks!

Did you know soil is more than just dirt? In this program, students will learn what soil is, how it is formed and why soil is important. Emphasis will be placed on having students use their senses and powers of observation to distinguish between different soil types. GPS: Science SKE2b,SKE2c, SKP1a; Social Studies SSKH3a;ELA KR5b; Math MKM1

Meet the Trees

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 species of trees on a nature hike. Then they will test their identification skills during a "Leaf Relay." GPS: Science SKL1c, SKL2b;, SKL2e; Math MKM1, MKG1a

First Grade

Every Tree for Itself!

Through a variety of hands-on activities, 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 with each other for resources to stay alive. GPS: Science: S1L1a, S1L1c

To Be a Tree

Students will develop an understanding of tree parts and their function as well as learn how to identify different native trees by going on a short discovery walk around the Center. Also, the little 'saplings' will have an opportunity to create a leaf "book bag" they can take home.

K Science QCC: 1, 4, 6, 8, 12

1st Science QCC: 1, 4

Amazing Adaptations

Georgia's forests are home to a wonderful array of wildlife species, each with their own unique adaptations for survival. Students will learn about different types of adaptations, such as coloration, and then try their hand at surviving in the wild during a game of hide-and-seek with a twist!

K Science QCC: 1, 4, 13

1st Science QCC: 1, 4, 11, 12, 13

Second Grade

Where's Wal-Mart?

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 peoples, 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 poisonous forest plants. GPS: Social Studies SS2H2

Patterns of Change

A fundamental concept in ecology is that ecosystems are ever changing. During the course of this program, students will learn about patterns of change in forest ecosystems by examining various forest habitats. GPS: Science S2L1

Tree Cookies

By observing cross-sections of trees, students will learn about different tree parts, how trees grow and the things trees need to survive. Afterwards, each student will create their own personal tree cookie and participate in a role-playing game emphasizing how trees compete with each other for resources to stay alive.

Science QCC: 1, 4, 10, 11, 12

Trees as Habitats

From their leafy branches to their tangled roots, trees provide a habitat for a host of plants and animals. In this activity, students will discover how plants and animals depend on trees in many ways.

Science QCC: 1, 4, 16, 17, 18

We Get WHAT From Trees???

Would you believe that lipstick and licorice are both forest products? How about plastics? Georgia's forests provide us with thousands of different products that we use every day. During a hike through the woods, students will develop an appreciation for how much we depend on the forest by learning about modern and historical uses of native plant species.

Science QCC: 1, 4, 14, 15

Third Grade

Soil Stories

Did you know that soils have parents and belong to families? Students will learn about how soil is formed from rocks through processes such as weathering and erosion, how soils are classified according to various characteristics and how different soil characteristics affect plant growth. GPS Science S3E1c, S3E1d

How Do They Live There?

In this program, students will have the opportunity to discover some of the unique adaptations plants and animals have developed to help them survive in Georgia's forest habitats by examining several native species up close. GPS: Science S3L1, S3L2

Where's Wal-Mart?

Have your students ever wondered how people survived without modern conveniences such as grocery stores and shopping malls? They will find out during this popular program about Georgia's first peoples, 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 poisonous forest plants.

Science QCC: 1, 4, 12

Social Studies QCC: 13, 22, 47

An Introduction to Soils

Playing in the dirt is transformed into an educational activity during this introductory program on forest soils. Students will learn about soil composition and structure, test and classify different soils and learn about the importance of soils in the forest ecosystem.

Science QCC: 1, 4, 12

How to Make a Leaf Collection

Students will learn how to identify common trees, shrubs and woody vines and how to collect and preserve forest specimens in order to create a reference leaf collection.

Science QCC: 1, 2, 4

Fourth Grade

Oh Deer!

In wildlife biology, the ability of a habitat to support wildlife is called carrying capacity. By pretending to be a deer herd, students will learn about the concept of carrying capacity and the relationship between populations of organisms and their environment. GPS: Science S4L1, S4L2; Math M4G3, M4A1

Walk This Way

The first thing foresters are taught in forestry school is navigation by compass and pacing. Your students will be amazed to discover that, after a bit of instruction, they too can easily determine directions and distances simply by walking and using a compass.

Note: Students must provide their own calculator for this program.

Science QCC: 1, 4, 5

Renewable or Not?

Students often do not know which resources are renewable and which are nonrenewable or which are recyclable or reusable. In this activity, students will learn what these terms mean and discover why sustainable use of natural resources is so important.

Science QCC: 1, 4, 25, 26

Fifth Grade

If it Walks Like a Duck and Quacks Like a Duck is it a Duck?

Students will learn about classification of organisms and genetic inheritance by debating and challenging the scientific concept of a species. They will then create their own organisms and be challenged to classify their creations. GPS: Science S5L1, S5L2

Forest Measurements

One of the fun things about forestry is all the cool equipment. Students will have the opportunity to use real forestry tools with funny names like 'D-tape" and "clinometer" to measure tree heights and diameters. Then, using their new skills, students will calculate the volume of wood in a tree.

Note: Students must provide their own calculator for this program.

Science QCC: 1, 3, 4

Soil Formation

Did you know that soils have parents and belong to families? Students will learn about how soil is formed from rocks through processes such as weathering and erosion, how soils are classified according to various characteristics and how different soil characteristics affect plant growth.

Science QCC: 1, 3, 4, 6, 25, 26

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.

Science QCC: 1, 3, 4, 19, 26, 28

Middle and High School

Sixth Grade

Georgia's Water Resources: A Drop in the Bucket

Georgia is facing serious issues with regards to water. During this program, students will learn about the amount and availability of water on Earth, the importance of the water cycle and how past, present and future local water issues affect their daily lives. GPS: ScienceS6E3

Renewable or Not?

Students often do not know which resources are renewable and which are nonrenewable or which are recyclable or reusable. In this activity, students will learn what these terms mean and discover why sustainable use of natural resources is so important. GPS: Science S6E6

Seventh Grade

Tree ID and Dichotomous Keys

The ability to use a dichotomous key is a necessary scientific skill. In this program, students will learn how to use a key to identify many common tree species. Then they will test their skills by creating their own key for a group of organisms and challenge their classmates to a "Keying Competition." GPS: Science S7L1

Georgia's Water Resources: Wetland Delineation and Development

Students will learn about the importance of Georgia's forested wetlands by role-playing different stakeholder groups in a hypothetical wetland development project. This two-part program consists of one day in the classroom and one day in the field at the wetland site. GPS: Science S7L4

Population Ecology of the Gopher Tortoise

Using the endangered gopher tortoise as a model, students will learn the basic principles of population ecology including energy transfer and predator-prey relationships. This program requires one day in the classroom, one day in the field and one day for data analysis. GPS: Science S7L5

Eighth Grade

Georgia's Forest History

Did you know that live oaks and pine trees were responsible for the European's interest in the New World? Or that the woods you see around you are less than 100 years old? Find out why Georgia's natural resources were, and still are, a major driving force behind the economic and social success of our country. During a trail hike through the woods, students will learn about Georgia's rich forest history, from pre-European settlement to present day, and gain some insights into what the future holds. GPS: Social Studies SS8H1b SS8H1c, SS8H5c, SS8G1, SS8E1

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.

What Happened Here?

Students will learn how to "read" the lay of the land and make educated guesses as to how past land uses have influenced current forest structure by using clues on the ground and information sources such as topographic maps, soil surveys and aerial photographs.

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.

Adopt-A-Wetland Program for Fifth and Seventh Grade Students

Involve your students in a real-life scientific research at the Warnell Forest Education Center by participating in our Adopt-A-Stream/Adopt-A-Wetland Program. Please call for more information.

Boy Scouts of America Programs

The following Webelo programs are available the Warnell Forest Education Center:

  • Forester
  • Naturalist

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

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.