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Expanded McDuffie Environmental Education Center dedicated

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State wildlife officials dedicated an expanded McDuffie Environmental Education Center Monday, which offers students hands-on learning on topics including the ecology of wildlife, water, soils and forests.

The center, located within the McDuffie Public Fishing Area near Dearing, now has two new buildings, which replace outdated surplus structures placed there in 1999.

In addition to classroom learning, the center offers three diverse habitats, two trails, a hands-on self-directed discovery room, indoor classrooms and several outdoor classroom areas.

Two certified teachers coordinate instruction. The new facility will accommodate the same number of students as before, but educators expect attendance to increase by 25 to 50 percent because poor conditions prevented the use of the former classrooms during cold weather.

The center is a joint effort of the McDuffie County Board of Education, the state Department of Natural Resources, the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Watson-Brown Foundation and the CSRA Regional Education Service Agency. Supporters also include Samples Southeast and the Thomson-McDuffie County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The center is located near Thomson at 4695 Fish Hatchery Road, Dearing, and also welcomes public, private and home-school groups. To schedule a visit, contact Dot Kay at (706) 339-5457 or .To learn more about the center, visit

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