Free festival features fun for all

The Clayton County Water Authority will hold its 12th Annual Wetlands and Watershed Festival Saturday to educate the public about the environment while also having fun.

The free festival has been moved to the Shamrock Community Use Building at 2610 Shamrock Road in Jonesboro because officials expect more than 700 visitors. The popular festival will continue as scheduled even if it rains, organizers said.

";The festival continues to grow every year, with more than 700 coming to the festival in 2010,"; said water authority spokeswoman Suzanne Brown.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m. at the Shamrock Community Use Building, which overlooks the Shamrock and Blalock reservoirs.

There will be free on-site parking and free shuttle rides to the Newman Wetlands Center for those who want to take part in the scavenger hunt along the wetlands trail, guided wetlands walks and other activities.

The wetlands center opened in 1995 and is the focal point of the water authority's community education efforts. The 32-acre site is at 2755 Freeman Road in Hampton. The wetlands center helps provide visitors with an understanding of the role that wetlands play within the watershed and the cycle of water.

Senior conservationist Carol Lambert said the festival is the water authority's largest public education event that targets visitors of all ages.

"This event continues to grow in size every year and moving it to the Shamrock Community Use Building gives us more room for visitors, exhibits and activities,"; said Lambert. ";Plus, it provides a building large enough to move everything indoors in the case of rain.";

The festival includes wetlands and watershed activities, live animal exhibits, nature crafts for children, face painting, plus the activities at the Newman Wetlands Center.

Visitors can enjoy exhibits by Atlanta Audubon Society, Clayton County Extension Service, Reynolds Nature Preserve, Dauset Trails Nature Center, Cochran Mills Nature Center, Bubba & Friends Raptor Rehabilitation, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream, Sierra Club of Georgia, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Georgia Forestry Commission and the Tara Beekeepers Association.

The Clayton County Master Gardeners will sponsor a Fall Plant Sale at this event.