The Rotary Club of Dunwoody has awarded a grant of $4,800 to the Dunwoody Nature Center in support of two new program initiatives for 2013. The first portion of the funding is for a leadership training program that would provide rising high school students with the leadership and environmental skills needed to become the next generation of responsible decision makers.
The remaining funds will establish a weather station at the Nature Center that will be utilized through various programs and classes, and will also be readily available for park visitors and the general public via the web. The Rotary Club and the Dunwoody Nature Center have a long history of successful partnerships going back to the Nature Center’s founding in 1990. In recent years, the Rotary has provided both volunteer and financial support for projects including sponsorship of the Cool Water Mother Earth Day Festival in 2009, the Watchable Wildlife program, and the Nature Center’s most recent initiative, the 2012 Meadow Restoration project.
With the implementation of the Leadership in Training (LIT) program, the Nature Center will be able to enhance its Junior Counselor staff’s affinity for nature while focusing on developing their leadership skills. By utilizing a proven curriculum, the Nature Center will develop youth community leaders who practice environmental stewardship through civic engagement.
The program will further benefit the surrounding Dunwoody community by promoting more environmentally responsive citizens who, in turn, will become increasingly aware of their impact on the environment. A weeklong LIT Camp is planned for up to 16 participants and will be held at the Nature Center and/or its satellite campuses of Brook Run Park and Island Ford at the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area.
The establishment of a weather station derives from stakeholder feedback on the programs of the Nature Center during the Center’s 2011 strategic plan. Weather, climate and seasonal changes are of such importance in the environmental education sphere that these subject areas appear in Georgia. Via the weather station record and data collection system, the Nature Center will also be able to have school groups do more longitudinal projects which reach beyond just science and into mathematics and the social sciences. The weather station will also have a larger impact by engaging visitors of all ages at the Nature Center educational area and on their own through an internet link to the weather station via the center’s website.