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Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Bear Creek Educational Forest at Lake Talquin State Forest

Bear Creek Educational Forest is a 492-acre tract of Lake Talquin State Forest 

Programs are FREE for any public or private school group, Scout troop, daycare or any other youth organization. Each program option may include a lesson, game or hands-on activity in the forest. An interpretive hike and souvenir craft to make and take home may also be included. Program activities at Bear Creek are developed using Project Learning Tree and Project Wild/Aquatic Wild guidelines. Correlations to curriculum standards are provided for many academic standards such as the Florida Standards, Common Core, STEM, and Boy and Girl Scouts.

The Bear Creek Tract also offers hiking and camping opportunities as well as the audio-enhanced Living Forest trail where the trees tell their own stories. You may download our Ravine Trail Arboretum brochure [ Adobe PDF Document 571.04 KB ]. 

The facility consists of:

  • Air-conditioned classroom with seating for 60 students
  • Three nature trails varying in length, including a paved “talking tree” trail and arboretum
  • Picnic shelter where students can eat lunch
  • Restrooms and drinking fountains
  • Full-time staff available to guide FREE program

Programs

Fire Management      Grades K-12
Younger students learn about forest fires from Smokey Bear himself and a game where students become firefighters. Older students can see firefighting equipment up close.

Photosynthesis Fun     Grades 4-6
Understand photosynthesis through exciting games and activities.

Forest Products      Grades K-12
Find out which household items we are able to use each day thanks to trees.

Water Wonders      Grades 4-12
Students learn about the water cycle, wetland functions, and about aquatic organisms by closely observing pond life.

Animal Adventures      Grades K-2
Animal adaptations, camouflage and the food chain are made fun through games and a scavenger hunt.

Tree ID      Grades 4-12
Take a journey through the forest and identify trees using a dichotomous key.

Decomposition Broken Down Grades 2-5
Use hand lenses to take a closer look at decaying logs and find out what helps break them down.

Orienteering Adventure Grades 4-12
Never get lost again. Learn how to use a compass and find your way in the woods.

Ecosystem Exploration      Grades 2-6
Students use their senses to observe and compare the differences in ecosystems by studying the forest, pond and yard.

Soil Digs      Grades 5-12
Discover what goes on beneath your feet by looking at soil’s layers and organisms.

Forester for a Day      Grades 3-12
Forestry tools will help students decide just how old or large trees actually are.

What to Bring

Students should dress for a day outdoors, possibly in older clothing and comfortable walking shoes. The following items are recommended:

  • Bottle of water
  • Insect repellent
  • Long pants
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sack lunch

Directions

Bear Creek Educational Forest is located in Gadsden County, south of Quincy.

  • From Interstate 10: Exit onto Highway 267. Go south on Highway 267 for 4.8 miles. The entrance will be on your left.
  • From Highway 20: Turn north onto Highway 267. Follow Highway 267 for 7.5 miles. The entrance will be on your right.

Contact Us

If there are any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact:

Bear Creek Educational Forest
8125 Pat Thomas Pkwy.
Quincy, FL 32351-0214

(850) 681-5892

Tom Gilpin 
Thomas.Gilpin@FreshFromFlorida.com