‘A Day in the Woods’ reemerges at Gaskins Forest Education Center (photos)

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Browse 30 fantastic photos and learn all you need to know about “A Day in the Woods,” an annual, family friendly, entirely free event sponsored by the Gaskins Forest Education Center, a conservation reserve nestled on nearly five thousand acres of pine trees near the Alapaha River in South Georgia. In the accompanying photo a drone flown by Babe McGowan takes complete precedence for kids, despite young Finn Tucker scratching his nose, on Saturday afternoon, April 22, 2017, at the center. Photography by Wenda G. Bailey / Berrien.SmugMug.com

The Gaskins Forest Education Center, a spectacular privately owned conservation reserve nestled on nearly five thousand acres of pine trees bordering the 202-mile-long Alapaha River, unleashes a well-attended, annual community event in April on the third Saturday.

“A Day in the Woods” is free for people of all ages in the rural South Georgia city of Alapaha, pronounced uh-lap-uh-haw. Most forest and wildlife activities will be ongoing, and folks can come and go at their leisure. Samples of game meat — deer and hog — will be provided, but participants must bring a picnic lunch or potluck for sharing. Some activities are in the woods, so closed shoes are recommended.

The main event will take place outdoors from 1–5 p.m. Local people will share their craftsmanship and knowledge of local traditions. Demonstrations and activities related to forests, wildlife, crafts, and traditions will occur throughout the afternoon.

Guided nature walks will include natural communities, wildlife habitat, and birding. Activities designed for children include animal footprints, leaf prints, pine-cone bird feeder, and casting with a fishing pole.

Forestry activities will include measuring trees [Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Forestry Club], fire behavior demonstration [Georgia Forestry Commission], and soils. Wildlife activities include reptiles and amphibians, turkey calls, aquatic invertebrates, taxidermy, and possibly beekeeping and gopher tortoise camera.

Crafts using natural products include bark baskets, pine-needle basketry, wood turning, grape-vine baskets, nature painting, nature photography, and spinning and dying. Historical traditions will be demonstrated in fixing old buildings and rural life skills.

If you stay past 5 p.m., bring your own food — e.g. hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage — for a cookout. There will be an astronomy evening from 8 to 9:30 p.m. tentatively presented by the Valdosta State University Astronomy Club. Local astronomers will bring telescopes for visitors to see constellations, stars, nebulae, and planets in the night sky. The first quarter moon should provide excellent viewing conditions if no clouds are visible. Of course, many activities depend on weather conditions. If continuous rain is forecast, the event will be cancelled and rescheduled for next year. The site’s Facebook page offers daily correspondence from center coordinator Heather Brasell.

If you are interested in leading an activity, demonstrating a skill, providing refreshments, helping as a volunteer, or sharing information about the event, please contact Brasell at 229–339–3966 or email heather.brasell@gmail.com.

The event is located at 3359 Moore Sawmill Road in Alapaha, approximately 20 miles east of Tifton on US Highway 82. From the junction of US Highway 82 and Highway 129 in Alapaha, go south on Highway 129 for 0.6 miles. Turn left on East Brunswick Street which becomes Moore Sawmill Road. Drive 3.2 miles until you reach the address listed above, which will be located on your left. If you reach Rudolph Road, you’ve gone about 0.4 miles too far. Look for an old barn behind young longleaf pines.

© Jeremy Roberts and Heather Brasell, 2015, 2018. All rights reserved. To touch base, email jeremylr@windstream.net and mention which story led you my way. I appreciate it sincerely.

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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