Green learning destination: Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center

Green learning destination: Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center

Craig Elementary students take a closer look at water samples during a recent creek walk on the campus of Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center.
If your children come home talking about a recent visit to a Blue Planet, don’t worry— they haven’t left our solar system. They’ve been on a visit to Gwinnett’s green learning destination— the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center (GEHC). Blue Planet is one of several environmental education exhibits at the Center, which include Waterways, Rivers to Reefs, Water Wise, and Discover H2O.

The exhibits and learning materials are “hands-on, minds-on, and inquiry-based” and align with Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) curriculum. Collaborative partners in the venture are county commissioners, the school system, the University of Georgia, and the Center’s foundation.

Part science and nature center, part energy institute, and part history center, this educational and recreational facility near the Mall of Georgia opened to the public in fall 2006. Public hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.daily, Monday through Saturday. At the Center, schools may arrange AKS-focused field studies— from water cycles and habitats to conservation and ecosystems. The studies include a tour of the exhibits, trail walks, teacher-selected labs, and more. Learn more about GEHC field studies and learning labs for elementary: k - Grade 2 and Grades 3 - 5, and middle school online. High school field studies are in development, though AP Environmental Science classes already are working with the Center for stream studies and tours of Gwinnett’s cutting-edge water treatment facility.

The Center’s contribution to environmental education stretches beyond the boundaries of its exhibits, literally. The center sits on 233 wooded acres and has approximately 12 miles of paved greenway trails and mulched trails.

Gwinnett County’s first “green” building, the facility includes numerous features that reduce the building’s impact on the environment— a vegetated/planted roof, a water feature, and use of natural daylight to reduce energy costs.

Learn more about the Center, when you click here.