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Nasmyth Environmental Center

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Outdoor education opens the door to much more than science.

Taking outdoor education to a new level, the Nasmyth Environmental Center (NEC) draws elementary students closer to applied sciences at an earlier age. Experimenting, testing, and coming to conclusions over long periods of time proves to keep students engaged and propels them into higher stages of learning. 

“At GAC, Environmental Learning is more than just studying plants and animals.  In the NEC, students get hands-on experiences with nature through observation and experiments.  We see life cycles happen firsthand by raising plants, chickens, and trout.  Students experience farming using tools and planting seeds and we also get to eat many of the fruits and vegetables that we grow.  Our hydroponic and aquaponic systems allow students to work with less traditional methods of growing food.  In the NEC, students take on responsibilities in caring for plants and animals, but most importantly, learn by doing.”

Scott Allen, Environmental Learning Teacher

Engaging (and delicious) lifelong lessons

As they nurture plants that grow and blossom in our 2,300 sq ft greenhouse, care for chickens in our on-site chicken coop and consider how to market the eggs, students tackle real-world challenges, collaboratively developing insightful solutions.

The new and unusual foods grown in the greenhouse nudge those young, picky eaters to expand their palates with nutrition and cooking lessons throughout the semester. Fun Fact: The cafeteria also serves some of the food that is grown in the garden, and students are likely to eat what they have had a hand in growing!

Exploring even further out on the water

Our outdoor exploration doesn't stop at the NEC, as a part of our curriculum we take Lower School students out on our GAC Floating Classrooms on beautiful Lake Lanier. Students get their hands wet and experience real-life STEAM concepts like lake ecology, lake wildlife, water quality, hydroelectricity, water wars, and the formation of lakes. These days out on the lake make environmental studies come to life!