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Wildlife center offers home-school programs

COVINGTON - Area home-schooled students looking for a little more outdoor adventure now have that opportunity.

Starting Friday and continuing until April, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center will offer a home-school program.

"We thought it was a market we could serve," said Karen Hoydick, a wildlife interpretive specialist at Charlie Elliott who started a similar program in Maine. "We offer school programs, and there's lot of home-schooled students in the area. ... It's also good interaction with other children."

From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the third Friday of each month from November through April, parents of home-schooled students in first through seventh grades can drop their children off at the wildlife center's Brooke Ager Discovery Area, located off Marben Farm Road on Ga. Highway 11 in Mansfield.

There, the students will be split into two groups of 10 students based on age: first through third grades and fourth through seventh grades.

Each week, students will participate in a class that focuses on specific subject areas like ecosystems, mammals or birds.

At the discovery center, the students will go to indoor classrooms to interact with live animals or explore the nature around them, including the center's forests, lakes and streams. During the program, the wildlife specialists will take the students on hikes, help them conduct experiments and have them play games and participate in investigations.

"It's very outdoor based - they go outside and explore, no matter what the weather is like," Hoydick said. "It's very hands- on, and there's a lot of self-exploration and guided exploration."

The program costs $10 per student per class; students can sign up in advance for individual classes or for the entire program.

Parents and guardians can get more information and register their students by calling the wildlife center at 770-784-3059 or e-mailing karen.hoydick@gadnr.org for a registration form.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: At A Glance

· What: Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center's Homeschool Program

· When: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the third Friday of each month from November through April

· Where: Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center's Brooke Ager Discovery Area, 543 Elliott Trail in Mansfield

· Cost: $10 per child per class

To register, call the center at 770-784-3059 or e-mail karen.hoydick@gadnr.org.

Class Schedule:

· Nov. 21 - Ecosystems

· Dec. 19 - Water, Water Everywhere ...

· Jan. 16 - Winter Wildlife Survival

· Feb. 20 - Mammals

· March 20 - Life Cycles

· April 17 - Birds