Outdoor Educational Programs
Education is a vital part of the Natural Resource Management Unit. Environmental/nature education and public awareness programs are imperative to the overall management strategies of the unit. School programs are designed to meet the Georgia Performance Standards and the standards set by the Cobb County School Board for Science curriculum. Elementary through high school and scout programs are offered with the goal to educate about the world around us, what lives there and the essential task of protecting that world.
Nature education programs for pre-K to middle school grades are offered year round. Let our naturalists lead your class on a walk through the wetlands at Heritage Park and learn about the diverse ecosystems. Choose to visit the Wright Environmental Education Center, Cato Park or Stout Park to study the urban forest or invite us into your classroom to share one of our mobile programs such as our “habitat box” where children learn the basic needs of living and non-living things and the common needs between plants and animals. A variety of programs are available and all our programs meet the Georgia Performance Standards.
Our programs take a “hands on” approach and attempt to make the outdoor experience both fun and educational for the students. Preference is placed on field studies encouraging the students to visit our environmental education facilities or wetland trails. If dates are available, mobile programs may also be offered in the schools. Mobile programs are also offered in the schools. Students participating in the programs can expect to explore the outdoors via nature hikes focusing on the natural world around them. These hikes are accompanied by classroom activities to tie together all phases of the learning experience. Several learning curricula are used including Project Wet, Project Wild, Project Learning Tree and programs created by staff.
Call Kaye Wilson at (770) 528-8824 to book your school today.
Girl/Boy Scout Badge Workshops
The Natural Resource Management Unit offers workshops that review all requirements and activities needed for a Badge, Try-It or Achievement. Troops/Packs are responsible for the patches, belt loops and pins. Scouts should come dressed for the outdoors and ready to have fun! Most workshops include a hike. All workshops are held rain or shine. Registration is by troop/den only with a 5-scout minimum. For additional information regarding Cub Scout programs please call Kevin Hill at (770) 528-8829. For additional information regarding Girl Scout programs please call Kevin Hill at (770) 528-8829.
MacKenzie Kristufek recently completed her
Girl Scout Gold Award Project on
Bats and White Nose Syndrome
Bat boxes for Hyde Farm and Cato Nature Park
Hi, my name is MacKenzie Kristufek. I have been a Girl Scout since 2nd grade, and I have earned my Bronze and Silver Awards over the years. The Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. All Gold Award projects have to be sustainable and must benefit the community as a whole. This is my Gold Award Project.
The focus of my Gold Award project is bats. While I was researching topics for my Gold Award project, I came across an article about the White Nose Syndrome, and how this disease is killing millions of bats, especially in Georgia. I knew that I wanted to bring awareness to this topic.
White Nose Syndrome is killing millions of Georgia bats that live in caves. This disease causes a small white fungus to grow on the noses of the bats in the caves, and in turn, the fungus infects the bats and slowly causes defects in their brains. The White Nose Syndrome also causes the bats to unpredictably fly outside of their caves during the day, when normally they should be asleep. White Nose Syndrome is a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus, and was most likely transmitted into a U.S. cave from Europe. It has since spread across the country. When people go caving and touch along the walls, or even just bring their germs into the cave, it causes the disease to spread even further. The White Nose Syndrome has killed an estimated 5.7-6.7 million bats since 2006 according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. People need to become aware of this disease so that they don’t continue to unknowingly help spread it with their germs.
Through my project, I am teaching young children the facts about bats, and assuring them that myths such as “all bats are vampires and suck your blood” and “bats carry rabies” are not true. As part of my Gold Award Project, I gave a presentation to the grades kindergarten through second grade students at Queen of Angels Elementary School. I was able to tell the students about all the different types of bats, what they eat, how they live, and why they’re so helpful to our environment. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service states that an average bat can consume between 600-1,000 insects an hour. I was able to answer any questions they had about bats, White Nose Syndrome, and how they could help fight this disease and save the bats.These creatures are vital to our environment, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to help children in my community learn more about bats.
As part of my project, I built four large bat boxes. These are wooden bat houses, capable of housing up to 300 bats each. I assembled a team of my friends to help me build these bat boxes, and was also assisted by my grandpa. All four of my bat boxes are installed in local parks, one at Hyde Farm in Cobb County and one at Cato Nature Park in Austell. Bat boxes are relatively easy to make, and anyone can do it!
Here is the link to my powerpoint presentation that I gave at Queen of Angels.
Here are some links for how to build your own bat boxes:
● Building a Bat House
● Installing a Bat House
Here’s a link to a Wild Kratt’s video with information on baby bats and bat caves:
Here’s a link to a video of bats flying out of a bat house at night:
Natural Resources Staff:
|Charlie Monroe - Recreation Program Manager
John Purcell - Recreation Programmer
Kaye Wilson - Recreation Programmer
Kevin Hill - Recreation Specialist
Outdoor Program Calendar
Silver Comet Trail
Wright Environmental Education Center
Cato Environmental Education Center
East Cobb Park