Cubihatcha Kids enjoy field trips for outdoor education
Oct 10, 2016 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.
Henry County third graders learn a lesson on stormwater pollution during the annual field trips for these "Cubihatcha Kids."
The Henry County Water Authority (HCWA) hosted approximately 3,000 third grade students and teachers from Henry County Schools for field trips at its Cubihatcha Outdoor Education Center during a two-week period from Sept. 12—15, and Sept. 26 – 30. This year was the 14th anniversary of field trips for Henry County’s “Cubihatcha Kids.”
These annual field trips for local elementary school students are organized by the Henry County Outdoor Education Partnership. The mission of these field trips is to provide opportunities for experiential or “hands-on” learning for students through approved science curricula, while enhancing their appreciation of natural resources and the value of water, as well as inspiring their interest in science.
The “Cubihatcha Kids” spent their allotted day during the field trips attending a number of courses organized by the HCWA, its partners and volunteers, following designated trails through Cubihatcha where the students could gather in outdoor classrooms, enjoy special displays, and other amenities of the Center.
Organizations providing teachers for the outdoor classes included the HCWA and its staff, who provided lessons about honey bees, the water cycle, tree cookies, as well as the water production and wastewater treatment processes. Retirees and administrators from the Henry County Board of Education led classes on crayfish, watersheds, and physical education. Employees from Central Georgia EMC led a class on solar energy. Georgia 4-H volunteers taught a class on the qualities and characteristics of water. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources offered their expertise for a class on native animal species. The Georgia Forestry Commission taught lessons on Forest Maintenance and Forest Fires, and the Georgia Farm Bureau provided insights on gardening and harvesting, using the Cubihatcha Center’s Community Garden as an ideal backdrop.
“I’ve taken my classes to Cubihatcha for several years, and the field trips are always excellent,” says Dr. Sandra Cronin, Third Grade Teacher at Ola Elementary. “The instructors spend a lot of time planning and preparing for hands-on experiences that are difficult to duplicate in the regular classroom. I also really appreciate the non-Henry County employees who volunteer their time to teach lessons at Cubihatcha, and as a bonus, the view (at the Outdoor Center) is amazing!”
The HCWA Cubihatcha Center was built to coincide with the Authority’s wetlands mitigation plan that accompanied the construction of its reservoir network. The facility opened in 2003, and it serves as a focal point of HCWA public education and outreach. The Cubihatcha Center consists of 1,000 acres of bottomland hardwood, forested wetlands and uplands, nature trails, outdoor classrooms, a community pavilion, the HCWA reservoir and land management office, as well as avenues/areas for outdoor recreation.
To date, more than 40,000 “Cubihatcha Kids” have participated in these annual field trips at the Cubihatcha Center, through the Henry County Outdoor Education Partnership.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.