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Georgia College helps develop Rock Hawk

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November 09, 2010

Talented Georgia College students and faculty helped develop Putnam County’s Rock Hawk Effigy and Trails into an educational attraction.

During the past 18 months, Georgia College students and faculty have developed marketing plans and a website and conducted materials for the history and bird signs that line the trails through the forest to the effigy.

All that hard work paid off Friday with Rock Hawk’s opening celebration, where President Dorothy Leland was one of the featured speakers to celebrate the culmination of the
10-year, $1 million project.

“Our students and faculty worked closely with other sponsors to create an attraction where recreational
activities blend with an outdoor
classroom that serves all age groups,” said Dr. Leland. “Georgia College is proud to be a partner in this project.”

The historic effigy, built using milky quartz rocks, forms a hawk appearing to fly southeast.

Rock Hawk Effigy and Trails surrounds the hawk with 1,000 acres along Ga. Highway 16 on Lake Oconee.

Visitors can hike the 15 miles of trails, learning about the history of the area and its vegetation and wildlife. They can kayak, swim, boat and camp in the adjoining Lawrence Shoals Campground, owned and operated by Georgia Power.

“The trails have hundreds of displays, and the indoor and outdoor interpretive centers cover a wide variety of flora and fauna and 12,000 years of history,” Leland said.

Eatonton businessman Larry Moore, who serves on the university’s J. Whitney Bunting College of
Business advisory board, asked the college to partner in the project.

“Georgia College has provided tremendous support from the very beginning, writing letters of support to help secure grants,” said Moore, chair of the Historic Piedmont Scenic Byway Corp. that oversees the project. “Dr. Leland joined the group as soon as she came on board at Georgia College.”

Help from Georgia College came through the history, geology, outdoor education and biology departments and the College of Business.

“It’s tremendous to have Georgia College as a resource with the leadership interested in community service,” Moore said. “What an excellent training opportunity for the students.”

 Graduate students with the Multimedia Technology Center in the College of Business, under Director Caroline Collier, built the website,, that informs visitors of the many attractions and educational opportunities at the park.

The website contains videos and photos of the trails, effigy and viewing tower.

It also includes the history of the effigy and information about neighboring effigies, including nearby Rock Eagle.

“We were provided an abundance of information for the website—enough to write a book,” Collier said. “Our challenge was deciding what information we needed to include that provided the best information.”

Dr. Bob Chandler, professor of biological and environmental sciences, conducted the research for identifying the prehistoric birds of the area and the 200 bird species for birdwatchers. Chandler is a nationally recognized expert of historic terror birds.

Georgia College joins major sponsors Georgia Power, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Putnam County and Historic Piedmont Scenic Byway Corp.

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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For more information, contact University Communications at (478) 445-4477.