An interactive science museum. A heritage and history learning center. A nature retreat. Since opening in 2006, the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center (GEHC) offers a little something for everyone.
Located on nearly 700-acres of greenspace in Buford, the Center focuses on building an appreciation for nature and the environment, offering a unique mix of quality educational programming, learn-by-doing experiences, community enrichment op#portunities and outdoor fun.
To encourage an interest and love for science and history, the Center offers enriching educational programming, interpretative, hands-on field studies and outreach programs for pre-kindergarten, K-12 public and private schools, homeschool children and day care facilities. The programs explore a range of science and social studies topics and incorporate outdoor learning into each experience.
“Through our quality programming, our goal always is to inspire students to be better stewards of the environment through experiential learning of the science and history of our planet,” said Jason West, GEHC director of programming and development.
Each of the programs offered correlates directly with the Academic Knowledge & Skills (AKS) and Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) and many of the Center”s educators are former Gwinnett County teachers or hold a professional background in the specific topic taught.
While numerous educational opportunities are available at GEHC, they also oversee heritage programming at the following historical sites throughout Gwinnett County: McDaniel Farm, the Lawrenceville Female Seminary, Freeman”s Mill, Yellow River Post Office, the Isaac Adair House and the Chesser-Williams House. These programs provide participants with a glimpse into both Gwinnett”s and our country”s past.
From water conservation to criminal investigation, the GEHC hosts a variety of different themed exhibits. Currently there are four permanent exhibits for visitors: Water Wise, Discover H2O, Water Ways and Blue Planet. Each exhibit takes an interactive approach to help visitors explore the different ways water affects our lives. The Center also houses an e-Planetarium, a unique experience that captivates viewers as they journey through the universe, travel inside the Sun or come face-to-face with extreme weather.
There are also traveling exhibitions to discover! Currently, Off the Hook gives visitors a view of the country”s rug hooking heritage, displaying hundreds of hand hooked rugs from the 19th century to the present. Hands-on activities such as a scavenger hunt, design your own rug and even a small “hooking” sample are also offered. Starting in July, Crime Lab Detective offers a look inside the popular world of crime labs and detective work. Each participant will learn how to collect, sort and analyze evidence and data to solve a crime.
Camps, Special Events and Rentals
Games, crafts and outdoor exploration – summer camps at GEHC, the Lawrenceville Female Seminary and McDaniel Farm present boundless activities for ages 2-13 in June and July. Topics include wildlife, conservation, water, nature and the environment, Georgia”s regions and habitats, archaeology, architecture, forensics, the Renaissance and military history.
“We encourage children to experience camp at a young age. It will not only help them to continue their education throughout the summer, but it also teaches them the importance of social skills,”# says West.
Many seasonal festivals and events are also held at the Center and its supporting sites during the year. Earth Day (April), World Turtle Day (May), the Honeybee Festival (September) and Civil War Holiday (December) are some of their popular events. Also all the GEHC facilities are available for rent for your next party, gala, meeting and more.
Recreation and Outdoor Adventure
Outdoor recreation is a vital part of the Center”s mission. “We believe in encouraging our visitors to live a healthy lifestyle by spending time outside in nature,” said West.
On its nearly 700 acre campus, the GEHC has approximately 10 miles of trails that range from easy, moderate and strenuous as well as three outdoor pavilions. The trails allow patrons to enjoy biking, hiking, jogging or even walking the dog. In addition, GEHC is home to Treetop Quest, a canopy-adventure course that zips visitors through the trees at a bird”s eye view. The exhibit features zip lines, monkey bridges, Tarzan swings, and flying foxes at heights of up to 55 feet off the forest floor.
The Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center is the perfect place for children and families to come together to experience the wonders of our environment. Visiting a traveling exhibit, attending summer camp or even renting the space for a celebration or special event are just a few ways to enjoy GEHC”s uniqueness. For more information, visit gwinnettEHC.org.