JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — While families adjust to a less than traditional school year, the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve is creating more activities to educate and entertain the community. 

The Preserve has released its fall program schedule. It includes long-running programs, such as Feeding Fridays and Homeschool, Middle Homeschool and Preschool Adventures. Also, After School Adventures and Crafts From the Past will be held on Thursday afternoons. More Sunday Socials have been added to the schedule as well. 

Lizen Hayes, office administrator at the Nature Preserve, said the programs are a great way to enrich curriculums for new and seasoned homeschoolers.

“We have such a unique space,” Hayes said. “It’s mostly outdoors, so we do focus a lot on the environment around us and try to tie it into the subjects we do teach.” 

Currently, the Middle Homeschool Adventure program is focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM throughout history and using the old mill site and cotton to learn about scientific advancements. 

While Autrey Mill Nature Preserve has not worked directly with Fulton Schools to align its programs with the virtual learning curriculum, operations manager Lauren McDaniels said the classes can offer students something that online learning cannot.

“Well, they aren’t getting the in-person experience of working with other students’ abilities and team-building,” said McDaniels. “So, while it’s not necessarily a direct curriculum correlation, it’s an important skill that these children need at this age to know how to work together. They’re just not going to get that from virtual learning.”

Programs are going to look a little different this year. Autrey Mill is working to maintain a safe environment for participants. Most programs will take place outside with social distancing and smaller class sizes. 

In addition to fall programs, the Autrey Mill Nature Preserves’ Visitor Center is now open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. As an additional COVID-19 precaution, the center asks that only one family tour the visitor center at a time. Groups bigger than 10 require a reservation. The Farm House is also open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Autrey Mill Nature Preserve is located at 9770 Autrey Mill Road, Johns Creek. Visit autreymill.org for more information or to sign up for programs.

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