United Way


Family Enrichment Center group visits Dauset Trails Nature Center

Thursday - June 23, 2016

by Sherri Ellington


The Butts County School System Family Enrichment Center kicked off the summer playgroup season with a trip to Dauset Trails Nature Center on June 2. Eight children, their family members and parent educators from all three elementary schools met to see as many animals as possible then had a picnic together.

The tour wound through the barnyard area, where the kids’ consensus was that chickens smell better when they are nuggets and pigs like to get muddy. The John Deere tractor was a favored attraction.

With the day rapidly heating up, many of the center’s wildlife were in their dens or perched high in aviaries, with only noses, eyes or tails showing. Three baby owls looked out over the crowd and the bald eagle preened and stretched.

“Utter!” Elijah Miller said, pointing at a lone river otter tail peeking through rocks.

A sleepy black bear seemed to wave off onlookers with his paw as he stretched and rolled. The cougar looked out expectantly from her den. Turtles and fish in the pond came from their hiding holes as quarters dropped into vending machines, snapping up newly purchased food pellets.

Advised to drop the pellets into the pond one at a time, Aiden McCoy looked at his double handful of fish food, at a loss on where to put them.

“I can’t,” he said. His mother April McCoy helped out, holding the pellets as he tossed them, one by one, into the water. Adults with the group identified the fish and turtles coming up to feed.

“Our families enjoyed spending time at Dauset Trails Nature Center last Thursday,” Jackson Elementary School Parent Educator Christy Goolsby said. “The FEC usually starts the summer with a trip to Dauset Trails. We like to invite families to enjoy recreational places in our local area throughout the year. However, now that it is getting hot, we will be hosting playgroups indoors this summer.”

Beginning June 9 and continuing through July, summer playgroups for all three elementary schools will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon Thursdays at the Ernest Battle Professional Development Center, 218 Woodland Way, Jackson. They will be led by Goolsby and her fellow Parent Educators Sheryl Warner of Daughtry Elementary School and Alesia Grier of Stark Elementary School.

“Our parent educators have fun learning activities planned for each week,” Goolsby said. “Playgroups give parents and children the opportunity to get out of the house and meet with other people in a relaxed environment. During the school year, most of our playgroups are held at each elementary school with attendees being parents and young children who are zoned for the school district. During the summer all three playgroups combine to give parents the chance to meet with parents from the other schools.”

Playgroup participants are also encouraged to attend the Summer Reading Club programs at the Jackson-Butts County Public Library. The library summer programs are held at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each Tuesday for elementary age students and at 6 p.m. for middle and high school grades.

“We do hope that our families attend story time at the library,” Goolsby said. “Sheryl, Alesia and I will probably try to attend some of the story times in order to encourage our families to attend.”

Parents and guardians do not need to have a child enrolled in Butts County schools for their children to attend playgroups, according to the FEC website. The programs, free to families living in Butts County, are designed for children birth to age 5. They are funded through the Partners Advancing Childhood Education Grant, an initiative of the United Way of Greater Atlanta.

For more information on the playgroups email fec@bcssk12.org.  


(Article Source: http://www.jacksonprogress-argus.com/features/family-enrichment-center-group-visits-dauset-trails-nature-center/article_92850174-0394-593f-94be-fa0922d85615.html)

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