McDowell Environmental Center

Our mission is to connect people to their environment, teach respect for the Earth and its beings, and to promote a commitment to lifelong learning.

The McDowell Environmental Center (MEC) is a unique learning experience for thousands of students and teachers throughout the region every year. More than a walk a woods, this non-sectarian program welcomes all students regardless of race, religion, or gender. Many classes can be adapted to accommodate individuals with special needs. Schools typically come for three days and two nights to learn knowledge and skills from excellent instructors that are impossible to find in a classroom.

The MEC’s program goals are to:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of the environment.
  • Encourage a sense of responsibility for the environment.
  • Foster cooperation and the idea of community.

Instruction and activities take place outside, among forests, canyons, and streams, where students can see and feel exactly what they are being taught. Respect for the environment, recycling fundamentals, team building, confidence enrichment, and zero-waste concepts are only some of the life-skills students are empowered with upon leaving.

The program sessions are in-line with the state educational curriculum of Alabama and some surrounding states. Teachers receive continuing education credit for their time in the program. We believe we have something special and want to share it with you!