"Better than Animal Planet Live!" is how one second-grader described her visit to Arrowhead Environmental Education Center.
Located on 337-acre Arrowhead Wildlife Management Area near Armuchee, the center offers fun and learning in northwest Georgia. Originally developed from farmland into a private hatchery, the property, which includes 14 hatchery ponds and three lakes, was bought by the state in 1968 and is used to help in managing waterfowl and other wildlife.
Now in its 15th year, the center is open to schools in the Floyd County school system and private Darlington School. Arrowhead has a 2.2-mile interpretive nature trail, a beaver dam, wetlands and a new aquatic center where students can view lake sturgeon, crayfish and other native aquatic species. An average of 9,000 children visit the center each year.
Visitors will see a detailed mural that depicts northwest Georgia hardwood and longleaf pine forest habitats, a variety of live reptiles and amphibians, and a collection of birds of prey. Mounts of birds and mammals are also on display.
"I love that we can open (students) eyes to the environment," center director Kim Kilgore said. "So many kids are indoors so much and then they come here and we are able to give them something they can take back home with them, something that will help them appreciate their natural environment."
Kilgore recalled one group of second-graders that visited the center. "We were teaching them how to use binoculars, and afterwards we went for a bird walk and the group saw a mother pileated woodpecker feeding its babies.
"One little girl was ecstatic, saying, 'This is better than Animal Planet Live!' I am so glad that we can provide that kind of hands-on conservation education."
Teachers in Floyd County and Darlington can arrange field trips to Arrowhead by contacting Kilgore at (706) 295-6073 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Located on 337-acre Arrowhead Wildlife Management Area near Armuchee, the center offers fun and learning in northwest Georgia.