"We're trying to promote greater awareness of The Preserve and greater awareness of the relationship between people and nature. ... I think we've lost a lot of our wonder with nature and I think coming to The Preserve helps you recapture some of that wonder," said Marina Robertson, executive director for The Preserve. "We get kind of separated from it in our daily lives and it's nice to be reminded there are some pretty cool things out there."
Situated near Highway 61 in southwest Bartow County, the 70-acre forest and lake ecosystem features 2 miles of hiking trails, a swinging bridge, a 9-acre lake and an amphitheater. The Preserve was formed as a private, nonprofit corporation in 1999 when the late Gay Dellinger and her children initially donated 60 acres of property to this endeavor.
Throughout the year -- by appointment only -- The Preserve tailors educational programs, such as tree identification and water testing, to youth groups. During the 2009 to 2010 school year, about 750 children visited the site, the majority of whom were in pre-K to seventh grade at Cartersville or Bartow County schools.
On Saturday, the Family Festival will provide a variety of free activities for adults and children from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Along with self-led or guided hikes, the event will feature compost demonstrations, art programs led by Helen Taylor near the site's waterfall and folk tales by Annice Yeary at the Lakeside Amphitheater at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Ed Bostick, retired Kennesaw State University biology professor and Preserve board member, will present "Professor Ed's Edible Wild Plants" at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., ending both of his presentations with a plant snack.
Tellus Science Museum also will be conducting hands-on programs geared toward children, ranging from bird identification stations to leaf and bug rubbings.
"Tellus wants to participate in the community," said Cantey Smith, director of education for Tellus and a past board member for The Preserve. "We have partnered with The Pettit [Preserve] on several occasions for different activities. We've been out there for the last [two] Family Festivals that they've done, providing additional activities under the Learning Shed. So we try to switch it up each year ... Once again, we're just trying to get the kids actively thinking about how science and nature and the natural environment influences their lives."
During the free event, participants will be able to purchase hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches from Johnny Mitchell's Smokehouse and ice cream from Coconuts.
For more information about The Preserve or its Family Festival, visit www.pettitpreserve.org or call 678-848-4179.