Sandy Creek Nature Center is comprised of 225 acres of ecologically diverse uplands and wetlands including woodlands, fields, marshes, floodplains, and ponds. The property, located in Athens, GA is accessible by more than four miles of nature trails. An interpretive building, a classroom and meeting hall, a log house, and the Education & Visitor Center provide facilities that support a wide array of educational programs. With the expansion of the 4,400-square-foot Exhibit Hall, Sandy Creek Nature Center has become a highly rated regional educational and recreational facility, and Trip Advisor lists SCNC as one of the top ten visitor destinations in the county.
The Nature Center lies at the northern terminus of the North Oconee River Greenway, a paved, accessible trail for pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles that parallels the river of the same name. The North Oconee River Greenway currently is about five miles long and reaches to the outskirts of downtown Athens and the University of Georgia. Cook’s Trail, a foot path along Sandy Creek, connects the nature center to Sandy Creek Park, a public recreation area and reservoir four miles to the north.
Sandy Creek Nature Center, Inc. was founded in 1973 as Northeast Georgia Nature Center, Inc. by a committed group of 12 Athens area educators, scientists, and concerned citizens who saw a need for stronger environmental education in the area. Their goal was to encourage individuals, through science-based education and preservation of the center’s natural environments, to better understand and appreciate the natural world and their interrelationship with it.
In 1981, the board deeded the Nature Center to Clarke County, which assumed responsibility for its day-to-day operations and funding. This partnership continues today, with the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government providing staff and the majority of funding, while Sandy Creek Nature Center, Inc. continues to act as a liaison between the staff and the community, a partner in ongoing development, an advocate for the nature center and environmental protection, and a source of supplemental funding.
All donations from the 2018 Georgia Gives/Giving Tuesday campaign will be directed to our Backyard Discovery Zone project. This outdoor play and exploration area will be located in our current garden area, just behind the Education and Visitor Center. The area will be available for independent visitors but also be available for use to school groups, camp groups and facility programs. Our goal is to construct an active space close to our building in order to create a safe outdoor experience focusing on nature. Features will include low impact play surfaces, forest trails, music and art connections, seating for adults and space for stroller, shade, natural boundaries and a variety of natural structures that can be used for open-ended free play.
Thank you for your donation!