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The Outdoor and Environmental Education Center
housing the Leon and Rachel Gathany Museum of Natural History
The end of February 2009 construction finally got underway!! Hallelujah!
The logs are being specially cut and placed into their grooves for walls as we write! We are starting to see this long-awaited dream of a natural history museum honoring Leon and Rachel Gathany become a reality.
We welcome you to come by the campus and watch the progress. If that is not possible, I encourage you to visit this site regularly. New photos of the construction progress are posted weekly with a link from the alumni website home page.
The links below allow you to learn more about this unique Outdoor and Environmental Education Center:
- Update, February 2009
- Update, August 2008
- Update, June 2008
- Photos—groundbreaking through construction
- About Leon Gathany
- Location of the Center
- About the Education Center
About Leon Gathany
The Toccoa Falls College Outdoor and Environmental Education Center will honor the personal contribution and investment of naturalist Leon Gathany. Along with support from the alumni, Mr. Gathany has widepsread support and respect in the Toccoa-Stephens County community.
Mr. Gathany's role as Naturalist for the State of Georgia Parks and Historic Sites included between 200-300 lectures and seminars provided annually to public schools, colleges, camps, community clubs. and organizations in Stephens County and the Greater Atlanta area.
During the 1960s and the 1970s, Leon was principal and teacher of the Toccoa Falls High School. From 1976 to 1983 he taught at Big A Elementary and Stephens County Middle School where he made a great impact on the school children of the community.
The Location of the Center
The Center will be located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College, across from the swimming pond and historic power plant, near the entrance to the Beaver Dam/Dead Man's Branch Trail. The facility will be a spacious log cabin with interior walls of pine board and will have a wrap-around porch on three sides. There will also be an outbuilding and parking area.
The Leon and Rachel Gathany Museum of Natural History
- Mr. Gathany's extensive collection, which includes dinosaur, animal, and plant fossils from the phosphate mines of Florida and North Carolina, as well as his animal collection representing wildlife from around the world.
- The Paul M. Kessler Collection displaying wildlife.
- The Helen O'Brien Collection including insect, mineral, shell, and fossil collections currently housed in the Clary Science Building.
Natural history collections will be cataloged by the Seby Jones Library staff and museum curator.
The Experiential Learning Center Classroom
- A smart classroom will provide facilities for camping/outdoor recreation classes.
- Tours and hands-on workshops for local school children and summer camps will be offered
- Creation care concepts will be explored through unique outdoor and environmental teaching techniques that extend Leon Gathany's testimony and influence in sharing God's character in creation.
- Visual recordings of Leon's seminars are planned in the Learning Center, which can be replayed for guest and groups visiting the museum.
Office and Equipment Inventory Supply Room for the TFC Outdoor Club
The Outdoor Club is a student organization that provides outdoor activities such as canoeing and kayaking, spelunking, rock climbing, rappelling, and hiking in a Christian context, with membership open to members and alumni of the college community. Future plans include installing a ropes course near the museum and developing a trail system in the Beaver Dam area.