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St Johns River Center

Wetlands Wonder: Student River Center Opens in Palatka

Updated Wed July 15, 2015

St Johns River Center

A wetlands exhibit at the newly opened St. Johns River Center, one of the many interactive activities geared toward students.

Throughout history, rivers and nature have been a muse for writers, philosophers, artists and scientists alike, including Sir John Lubbock, a 19th-century British naturalist, who wrote:

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books!

While books will always be important, Lubbock’s point is that learning through nature can deeply enhance our education, especially through interactive experiences.

That’s in large part why Georgia-Pacific’s pulp and paper operation in Palatka, Florida, helped develop the St. Johns River Center: Adventures in a Wetlands Ecosystem. Geared toward students, the center is a fun, interactive space for learning about the ecology of the St. Johns River and the wetlands area, and its connection to the history, culture and industry of Palatka.

We’re particularly proud that the center will offer curriculum available to all teachers and that it meets Florida State teaching standards. Topics include the St. Johns River system, the various types of wetlands, native plants and wildlife, and the waterways’ impact on the local community.

The St. Johns River Center’s colorful characters and interactive exhibits invite visitors to explore a life-sized cypress marsh, wet prairies, floodplains and riverbanks of the river system. Hands-on exhibits feature iSpy games, scavenger hunts, a Wentzscope microscope, discovery door panels and other activities. The center’s classroom space provides plenty of room for lab experiments, group projects and field trips.

By feeling, hearing, smelling and even tasting the natural world around us, we gain more profound knowledge, understanding and appreciation of our environment. The center is an investment in our children’s education so they can also grow up to be good environmental stewards.

We’re very proud to leave a local legacy for future generations to learn about the value of the river system and wetlands that make Palatka so unique. Learn more about it here.


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