The Plymouth Bluff Environmental Center believes that outdoor education in a convenient and natural setting can be a very effective way to begin or enhance environmental and ecological awareness among all people.
The setting for the Plymouth Bluff Center offers a river, a pond, woodlands, cypress sloughs, nature trails, an outdoor teaching facility, and outdoor laboratories. Plymouth Bluff is a well-known Cretaceous fossil bed composed of marine sediments deposited when the area was part of a vast inland sea. Since the bluff contains an abundance of fossilized animal remains, including mollusk shells and shark teeth, it represents an excellent laboratory for geology and paleontology.
The Plymouth Bluff area has a large population of deer and is home to wild turkeys, raccoons, beavers, rabbits, squirrels, armadillos, and occasional foxes and coyotes. Wood ducks are common, as well as Canadian geese that are on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The area also contains a number of interesting plant species and communities, including some very large specimens of post oak and osage orange.
Four miles of nature trails provide additional opportunities to observe nature and enjoy some impressive scenery along the river bluff. Some of the trails have an asphalt surface for use by physically challenged visitors.
Plymouth Bluff has acquired an outdoor Challenge Course, Math Lab, and Environmental Discovery Lab. The LaTerre Outdoor Learning Systems are a series of structures designed to utilize the outdoors as a classroom.
The Challenge Quest is a series of components designed around specific challenges, or initiatives, which are used by a group to promote both teamwork and individual commitment. Initiatives promote skills for living that include communication skills, leadership skills and thinking skills. Such skills are important not just in the work force, but also in schools, where youth must live and learn on a daily basis.
The Outdoor Math Lab is a series of permanent outdoor wooden structures that are used to teach applicable lessons in math. The spatial and angular relationships between parts of specific components of the math lab are used to complete group tasks that contain lessons in fractions, number manipulations, measuring, graphing, estimations, etc. Field Guides for each grade level and field kits facilitate use, bringing a new level of excitement to the often boring realm of math class.
The Outdoor Environmental Discovery Lab is an outdoor learning center designed to facilitate the study of habitats, natural science, ecology, physical science, and biology. It is a series of structures inside and enclosed area with an outdoor classroom that, by design, helps teachers plan lessons that include experiential and hands-on approaches to teaching natural science where it actually occurs.