W. Kerr Scott Lake’s Environmental Education Center was founded in 2008 through a partnership with the Friends of W. Kerr Scott Lake group and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The non-profit Friends group was able to secure thousands of dollars to create exhibits, purchase supplies and furniture for the new education center. After two years of planning, raising funds, and hundreds of volunteer hours, the Environmental Education Center was dedicated in 2010. Housed in the lower level of the Visitor Assistance Center, the Environmental Education Center offers exhibits on Energy Conservation, Habitat Conservation, Wildlife, Aquatic, and Forestry Resources, Environmental Education Classroom, and Native Tree Trail. The center is open to the general public and to school field trips.
For EEC operating hours or to schedule a school field trip, please contact the Visitor Assistance Center at 336-921-3390. Below is a list of environmental education programs that are offered:
Growing Up Wild is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world and lifelong social and academic skills.
- Ants on Parade: Children go outside to observe ant behavior and learn insect characteristics.
- Lunch for a Bear: Children identify the kinds of foods that black bears eat by creating a plate of bear food.
- First Impressions: Children combine movement and math to show how they think and feel about animals.
- Spider Web Wonders: Children learn about spiders and spider webs.
- Wiggling Worms: Children will learn about and observe earthworms.
- Wildlife Water Safari: Children discover water sources for local wildlife and create a field notebook.
- Sammy Skunk’s Five Senses: Sammy Skunk introduces the five senses. We also learn about skunks!
- Deep Blue Sea: Children develop an awareness of oceans and ocean life.
- Terrific Turkey’s: Children learn about wild turkeys.
Project Learning Tree goal is to teach students how to think, not what to think about complex environmental issues. Recognized as a leader in environmental education for more than 35 years, PLT enhances critical thinking, problem solving, and effective decision-making skills, teaching students to weigh various sides of an environmental issue to make informed and responsible decisions. PLT materials are multi-disciplinary and aligned with state and national education standards.
- Tree Factory (3rd – 6th Grade activity & K – 2nd variation): Students will (1) describe the general structure of a tree and (2) explain how different parts of a tree help the tree to function. By acting out the parts of the tree to see how a tree works like a factory.
- Tale of the Sun (K – 6th Grade): Students will (1) describe how stories reveal the beliefs of the people who tell them and (2) read or listen to an American Indian story to gain insight on the vital importance of the sun.
- The Fallen Log (4th – 8th Grade): Students will (1) identify some of the organisms that live in, on and under fallen logs and explain how those organisms depend on the dead wood for survival and (2) describe the process of decomposition.
- Looking at Leaves: Are the leaves hairy? Do they have teeth? In this activity, your students will take a closer look at leaves and find out more about leaf characteristics. About how leaves could be used to identify trees.
- Life on the Edge: Students will understand the habitat components that organisms need to survive. Students will research an endangered, threatened, or rare species and give a persuasive media presentation on preserving that organisms needs.
Project Wet Educate. Empower. Act. The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators and communities of the world with water education. We invite you to join us in educating children about the most precious resource on the planet — water.
- Water Match (Lower Elementary): Students match up pairs of water picture cards and in the process learn to distinguish the three states of water – solid, liquid and gas.
- Water Address (3rd – 8th Grades): Students identify plants and animals by analyzing clues that describe water – related adaptations of aquatic and terrestrial organisms.
- The Incredible Journey (4th – 8th Grades): With a roll of the die, students simulate the movement of water within the water cycle.
- Imagine (4th – 8th Grades): Students take an imaginary journey with water in its solid, liquid, and gaseous forms as it travels around the world.
- The Life Box (Lower & Upper Elementary): Through a thought provoking activity, students discover four essential factors needed to sustain life.
- Water Connection (Upper Elementary): Through the familiar game of concentration, students make connections between modern and past water use practices and discuss how attitudes toward water changed as water use practices evolved.
- Poison Pump (5th – 8th Grades): Through a series of clues, students solve a mystery to discover that water can also produce negative effects for people.
- A Drop in the Bucket (Middle School): By estimating and calculating the percent of available fresh water on Earth, students understand that this resource is limited and must be conserved.
Project Wild is a wildlife-focused conservation education program for K-12 educators and their students. Project WILD is one of the most widely-used conservation and environmental education programs among educators of students in kindergarten through high school. It is based on the premise that young people and educators have a vital interest in learning about our natural world. A national network of State Wildlife Agency Sponsors ensures that Project WILD is available nationwide and is training educators in the many facets of the program. Emphasizing wildlife because of its intrinsic value, Project WILD addresses the need for human beings to develop as responsible citizens of our planet.
- Litter We Know (5th – 8th Grades): Students will (1) identify and evaluate ways that litter pollution can endanger wildlife and (2) propose ways to eliminate these dangers to humans and wildlife.
- Bearly Growing (4th – 8th Grades): Students will compare similarities and differences between growth of black bears and humans. Students illustrate, compute, and graph differences between people and black bears at various stages of maturity.
- How Many Bears Can Live in the Forest? (4th – 8th Grades): Students will (1) define a limiting factor and (2) describe how limiting factors affect animal populations. Students become “bears” to look for one or more components of habitat during this physically involved activity.
- Are You as Big as a Bear? (4th – 8th Grades):Students will learn size, weight and actual size of bears by method of graphing outdoors!
- Spider Web Geometry: (4th – 8th Grades): Students will (1) recognize spiders as wildlife and (2) generalize that people and wildlife share similar environments.
- Oh Deer! (4th – 8th Grades): Students will (1) identify and describe food, water and shelter as three essentials components of habitat; (2) describe factors that influence carrying capacity; (3) define “limiting factors” and give examples; (4) recognize that some fluctuations in wildlife populations are natural as ecological systems undergo constant change.
- Birds and Worms: Students will (1) simulate how predators use their vision to find prey, (2) describe some different ways animals use camouflage for survival and (3) invent a fictional animal that is camouflaged for it’s particular environment.
- Animal Charades (K – 4th Grade): Students will (1) define wildlife and (2) distinguish between wild and domesticated animals.
- Ethi-Reasoning (5th – 8th Grades): Students will (1) examine their own values ad beliefs related to wildlife and other elements of the environment, to listen to and respect the rights of others to maintain different values and beliefs and (2) evaluate possible actions they might take that have an effect on wildlife and the environment.
- Animal Olympics: 18 stations where kids will act as the animal does. Example: Great Blue Heron…how long can you stand on one leg? Squirrel…can you balance on a balance beam and many more. This is great for your schools field day.
Project Food, Land, and People(FLP) is the latest national environmental education curriculum delivered through the Soil and Water Conservation districts. Area educators attend six to 10-hour workshops and actively participate in hands-on, interdisciplinary lessons on topics connecting people, the land we live on and the food that sustains us.
The connections become obvious, vital links demonstrating the interdependency between healthy natural resources and a viable agricultural economy. Teachers and other adults who mold young minds take lesson plans, activities and other information back to students whose thoughts and actions will directly impact the future of our planet. FLP follows the new K-12 science competencies in the NC Standard Course of Study as set forth by the North American Association for Environmental Education.
- Buzzy, Buzzy Bee (2nd – 7th Grades): Students play a game in which they pretend to be honeybees and apple trees. In the process, they learn about plant pollination.
- We’re Into Pumpkins (Pre-K – 6th Grade): Through hands on interdisciplinary activities, students learn about pumpkins as fruits and as food sources. History, description, parts, graphing, uses past and present.
NC Project Catch CATCH workshops (Caring for Aquatics Through Conservation Habits) Use the CATCH curriculum guide to explore ways to teach about aquatic environments through fish biology, outdoor ethics, water safety and fishing skills. Techniques and activities are geared for children ages 8 to 15.
Wildlife workshops offer all adults training and practice in specific skills such as wildlife identification, outdoor photography and fishing. Most classes are free of charge.
- Backyard Bass: Students will learn by (1) use of a pole and plastic fish and (2) learn to cast and release.
- Stick it to Me: Students will be able to (1) name three characteristics that distinguish fish from other animals (2) describe the following attributes of fish and explain how these characteristics allow fish to adapt to their environment – gills, fins, scales, lateral line, color, body, shape, sight, smell and taste.
- Fish ID: Using a dichotomous key the student will be able to identify the fish.
Flying WildThrough activities involving language arts, social science and math experiences, coupled with community outreach and service learning applications, Flying WILD offers a whole-school approach to environmental education using birds as the focus. Targeted for the middle-school audience, though widely adaptable, Flying WILD offers practical hands-on classroom and outdoor field investigation experiences connecting real-world experiences in bird biology, conservation and natural history. Project-based classroom applications, service learning and community involvement are encouraged through sections of the guide dedicated to the planning and implementation of birding festivals.
- Food for the Brood: This relay race gets participants up and running as they gain appreciation for the parent’s seemingly impossible task of satisfying the appetites of their nestlings.
- Fill the Bill: Students learn about bird feeding adaptations by using tools to simulate eating different foods.
- Bird Bingo: Do you know if a bird’s heartbeat is faster or slower than yours is? Is it true or false that all birds fly? Are birds cold-blooded? Play Bird Bingo and find out! Students will learn many of the traits that make birds unique.
- Jeop-Birdy: Students learn interesting bird facts while testing their knowledge about bird biology, adaptations, migration, and conservation. Played in teams just like Jeopardy!
- Bird Olympics: Students will describe the physical attributes of birds that help them fly, find food and migrate long distances.
- Owls: A program introducing different owls, their habitats, pellets and who says whoo at night!
- Creatures of the Night: What type of creatures will you encounter in the night? Take a hike and find out!
Other Educational Programs
- Gray Wolves, Gray Matter – Exploring the Social and Biological Issues of Wolf Survival
- Nature’s Stock Market: Students will (1) define the habitat needs of common North woods mammals, (2) compare the habitat components among common North woods mammals, and (3) predict how habitat change affects different species.
- Decomposing Tag from Do the Rot Thing: Participants will play a tag game that illustrates the cycle of the life and the role of decomposers in the food web.
- What’s in my Trash Can? from Pisgah Forest Institute: fun way to get students thinking about what typically goes in the trash can and what can be diverted from the waste stream. This lesson exposes them to the concepts of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Composting.
- All About Plastics (9th – 12th Grades) from Recycling & Composting in the Classroom: Students will (1) recognize there are differences between plastics, (2) identify plastics by their numbers, (3) investigate the physical properties and evaluate differences between those properties for each type of plastic and (4) investigate the chemical properties of plastics.
- Buy Recycled Bingo from Recycling & Composting in the Classroom
- Survival of the Fittest