Georgia Nature Center Teacher & Chaperone Guidelines
Please read this page completely before visiting the center.
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Guidelines for Teachers & Other Chaperones
Please email this page to other teachers or chaperones, or print and distribute hard copies.
The tour includes approximately one mile of walking on trails in the woods, broken up into short 10 to 15 minute walks. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothes you don't mind getting a little dirty. The trails are easy for most people, though a few of the trails can be slightly muddy after a heavy rain. If there is any chance of rain on the day of your tour, please bring appropriate rain gear. Most of the tour is conducted outdoors.
In most cases, we can conduct tours regardless of the weather. We have a 1,400 square foot tent under which we can present many of the interactive demonstrations about renewable energy, carnivorous plants, organic farming, etc. In the event of an unexpected severe storm, we will monitor weather radar, and if appropriate, direct students back to the buses or other vehicles for shelter until the storm passes. If time allows, the tour can continue after the storm has passed. If due to severe weather you are unable to complete at least 75% of your tour, all students, teachers and chaperones will each be given a coupon good for one-free admission to the center to be used to visit again anytime within six months.
In order to help maintain an orderly tour, we recommend you bring along approximately one teacher or parent chaperone for every 15 to 30 students in your group. Groups with younger students benefit from more chaperones, older students require fewer chaperones.
Tours generally take 1-1/2 to 2 hours. We recommend you schedule your transportation to allow the most time possible at the center so your tour is not rushed. Most groups bring bag lunches and drinks to enjoy in our picnic area after the tour. We usually allow an additional 30 to 60 minutes for this lunch time. If you need to leave by a specified time, please notify us upon your arrival at the center so we can adapt your tour and lunch schedule appropriately.

Please place any large drink or food boxes or coolers which students can't carry with them into one vehicle, if possible. We will direct this vehicle down a private road to unload at the picnic area. If all of the food is brought on the bus, we will provide our own vehicle to transport the food to the lunch area upon request.
Please advise students that while on trails they must walk single file, they must never wander off marked paths, and they must stay behind any safety fences, railings or flagging. This is important for safety reasons and to avoid disturbing plants and wildlife. For the best chance to see wildlife during a tour, students should speak quietly and keep talking to a minimum while on nature trails. Students must also be silent when any of the nature center staff are giving a presentation or discussing something along any of the trails. It is up to the chaperones to ensure students follow these guidelines.

Ticks are common during warmer months of the year. For best protection from ticks, we recommend you bring along a repellent containing DEET (assuming you are not allergic to it) and spray your shoes and socks when you first arrive at the center. For even better protection, you can tuck your pants into your socks before spraying them. Since ticks walk up from the ground, this will keep most of them off, and also keeps you from having to spray repellent directly on your skin. Many people don't bother with repellents, we simply mention this here for those who like to go the extra mile to avoid tick bites.

On occasion snakes are found along nature trails, and while most are not poisonous, some poisonous snakes are seen in the area on rare occasions. Please advise students not to touch any snakes, and to immediately notify a Nature Center Staff member if a snake is seen so that it can be identified and safely removed from the area.

In case of any type of emergency, please immediately notify a nature center employee wearing a STAFF shirt.
Souvenir items such as solar-powered toys and carnivorous plants are available for sale at the Nature Center Store. During most tours, contests will be held to award some of these toys and plants free to one or more students. If anyone wants to purchase solar-powered toys or carnivorous plants, these are available at prices ranging from $5 to $20 each. Students who may wish to purchase such items should be advised to bring a small amount of cash with them.
While most children, even below kindergarten age, do just fine on the nature hikes since the trails are easy to walk on, the trails are not appropriate for standard strollers. Please make sure parents are aware of this. We have, however, had parents bring along "all-terrain" strollers, or backpacks for their very young kids, either of which work fine. It is also possible for parents with extremely small children to skip the hike and remain in our exhibits area while other people take the nature hikes.
If any students on your tour are physically disabled or may be unable to walk the trails for any other reason, please notify us in advance (call 1-800-800-2SUN) so we can make arrangements to accommodate them. We have other activities which can be arranged for such students, and we have an ADA compliant restroom.
Following are items you and others on the tour may wish to bring along:

Bag lunch.
Bottled water or other drinks.
Comfortable shoes for walking on trails.
Rain gear if there is any chance of rain.
Insect repellent.
Cash for souvenirs.

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