The Dunwoody Nature Center is expanding its free “First Saturdays” program in partnership with Northside Hospital beginning Jan. 6.

The staff of the Nature Center will host a free, experiential program on the first Saturday of each month throughout the year. These family-friendly programs will have a specific, seasonally-based theme each First Saturday. Visitors unable to make the teacher-led programs can participate over the course of the month by stopping by the Nature Center’s main building on any following Saturday to pick up a “Grab-and-Go Nature Activity” based on that month’s theme.

The Jan. 6 program, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., will include a winter hike. Following the hike, guests are invited to gather by the campfire, write down their burdens from 2017, throw them in the fire and watch them burn away. There will also be s’mores. To register, contact Holly at or call the program office at 770-394-3322.

Other program themes for 2018 include:

February – Birds

Feb. 3 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. — Nature’s Echo will bring several birds of prey for a fun and informative bird show.

March – Nature Unplugged

March 3 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Join the Nature Center to commemorate the National day of Unplugging where educators will help guests discover great ideas for getting away from electronic devices.

April – Recycling

April 7 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. —  Participate in a family-friendly class to explore recycling ideas and learn about other activities that will be held during Earth Day on April 21.

May – Gardening

May 5 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Learn gardening tips from growing herbs to squash and also explore the benefits of composting kitchen scraps for the Earth and garden beds. Guests will also make miniature pots from newspaper and bring some seeds home to get a garden started.

June – Bees

June 2 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Visit the Nature Center’s observation honeybee hive as well as a traditional stacked honeybee hive for an informational program on the important life cycle of a honey bee.

July – Music

July 7 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Jason from Jason’s Music Party will play family-friendly music on his guitar and guests are encouraged to sing along and dance. At 7 p.m., the Nature Center’s Summer Concert Series begins.

August – Butterflies

Aug. 4 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — To prepare for the Annual Butterfly Festival on Aug. 18, educators will lead a program all about butterflies that covers the life cycle, host plants, most common types in our area and the benefits of butterflies.

September – Reptiles

Sept. 1 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Mr. Jim from Party Animals Atlanta educates with his wide variety of reptiles.

October – Photography

Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — The Nature Center will participate in the city-wide Atlanta Celebrates Photography event with its own photography class and workshop. Guests will hike, take pictures of nature and post them to either Instagram or Facebook. The Nature Center will print the pictures and create a display of the photos to celebrate photography all month long.

November – Mushrooms

Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Join our partners from the Georgia Mushroom Club to learn all about the incredible world of mushrooms. Guests will see samples of the mushrooms of Georgia, as well as take home their own mushroom kits to grow at home.

December – Winter

Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. — This month we will find out what animals do during the winter – which ones hibernate, migrate or stay active. Join us for a hike, games and crafts to celebrate the winter season.

Dyana Bagby

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.