Outdoor Education Spots In Charlotte
The ecological benefits and services of the natural environment can always become a learning space for those who wish to indulge. In Charlotte, there are several ways to embrace outdoor education and to further enjoy the benefits of the great outdoors.
Higher Education Opportunities
Colleges and universities are known for supporting an active student life, which includes outdoor adventures and education. In particular, Queens University has a special section in its student activities and organizations devoted to outdoor education, encouraging and facilitating students to be outside. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers outdoor adventure opportunities to interested students.
Mecklenburg County Nature Preserves
Mecklenburg County has an extensive list of nature preserves for its community members to explore, hike and learn. Latta Plantation is one of the larger nature preserves operated by the county with 16 miles of hiking. Latta Plantation has many different outdoor education programs that deal with North Carolina history, including farming, gold panning and plantation life. The Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve is also a great outlet to explore outdoor education. At Reedy Creek, visitors can hike, bike, fish and observe native flora and fauna. It serves as a historical site with remnants of Native American artifacts. The James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies is also located at Reedy Creek Nature Center, where scientists study the Charlotte region ecosystems.
McColl Center for Visual Art, Environmental Artist-In-Residence Program
The McColl Center for Visual Art, an organization that promotes the work of urban artists, features an environmental artist-in-residence to cultivates community engagement on environmental issues. For example, in 2011, the McColl Center for Visual Art partnered with the Charlotte Nature Museum and Lakewood Community Development Corporation to create an artistic educational program around stream health. For the upcoming year, the McColl Center will work with the Brightwalk Community in North Charlotte on an environmental art project.
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Isabel Sepkowitz is a freelance writer. She is an environmentalist who values sustainability, education, and innovation for the emerging green economy. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.