Classroom Refurbishment: Done in a Day!

Elachee Nature Science Center is honored to have been chosen for a Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County Done in a Day Project grant. This project provided funding and volunteer efforts to support Elachee’s school programs’ taxidermy collection and to refurbish the classroom housing this collection at the Nature Center.

These ladies from the Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County pose after completing a Done in a Day project at Elachee Nature Science Center.Seven hardworking and enthusiastic Junior League members helped Elachee staff with several tasks. Pictured L-R: Havolynne Saxon, Amanda Bruner, Morgan Wood, Laura Fowler, Britt Sawyer, Olivia Shockley and Julie Vaughn.

They helped install two new 8 ft. x 4 ft. magnetic marker boards to replace aging and damaged boards, and participated in taking inventory of the taxidermy collection. These energetic ladies also cleaned the classroom top to bottom, ceiling to floor, and critter to critter. They also scrubbed the adjacent kitchen to a sparkling shine.

“Thank you so very much again for letting us be part of this project,” said Morgan Wood, the 2017-18 Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County Placement Chair. “It was so different from some of our previous projects, and the girls absolutely loved it. I have always been a huge fan of Elachee, but it was wonderful seeing the other girls fall in love with this place as well.” Students from Lyman Hall Elementary benefit from the refurbished classroom and enhancements to Elachee's Habitats program, thanks to the grant award from the Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County.

Each year, school children and youth from dozens of Georgia school systems, private schools and home school programs, and from communities throughout the north Georgia region engage in memorable and meaningful educational experiences at Elachee, as do nearly 1,000 children attending Camp Elachee summer day camps.

Elachee’s grade-specific programming gives students natural world encounters. Of the 52 STEAM-based ecology programs the Nature Center offers for PreK-12 students, 12 courses utilize Elachee’s taxidermy collection as supplemental teaching tools – not only for children visiting Elachee, but also through Elachee in Your Classroom Outreach programs. From August 15, 2016 through July 31, 2017, nearly 34,000 children participated in these innovative nature education programs, with over 42 percent of these children experiencing one of those 12 programs.

Most of these children (and their parents) have never seen some of these animals, except as represented as illustrations in books, or viewed on a video. Over the course of their lifetimes, many will never encounter these living creatures in the wild. However, understanding more about these animals, by seeing and touching real life specimens, gives students the necessary perspective to help them grasp life science concepts and complement other nature-related instruction these children receive.

Elachee’s education team will use the $2,500.00 grant award to fund the purchase of the magnetic marker boards and supplies, taxidermy specimens and replicas to replace items in and supplement the collection, along with heavy duty storage crates suitable for transporting the collection to Elachee outreach programs, and dedicated carts for safely transporting the collection within the Nature Center and to vehicles taking on outreaches.