Parks & Recreation

Piedmont Environmental Center

1220 Penny Road (get directions)
High Point, NC 27265
(336) 883-8531
(336) 883-8537 (fax)
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From time to time this facility will be closed due to weather, maintenance, or private events.  Other events and programs may be changed or cancelled.  Please click on the "Closings, Cancellations & Changes" tab on the left of this page for more information.

Center hours of operation:
  Monday-Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm

Trails hours of operation:  Open 7 days a week from sun up until sun down 

Piedmont Environmental Center provides programs and a place to learn, conserve and enjoy the natural world through hands on experiences emphasizing the interrelated and fragile nature of life. 

In 1972, a group of concerned citizens worked with the City of High Point to secure property PECadjacent to High Point City Lake Park as a plant and animal preserve. Within a short time, a trail system was established and the first environmental education programs in Guilford County were offered at the site.

On the see this term throughout our class descriptions. PEC's mission is to get students outside. The 11 miles of foot trails and Bicentennial Greenway pass through 376 acres of beautiful hardwood and pine forests and lakeside habitats. There are three primary loop trails used during classes, each about three-quarters of a mile in length.

Design features of the main building include active & passive solar technology, tower ventilation, natural lighting, recycled aluminum roof, recycled PVC carpets, recycled auto glass bathroom tiles, reused bricks and much more. A wrap-around covered deck provides shade for lunch and shelter from rainy weather. Inside you will find a lobby for check-in, maps and information, small exhibits, an auditorium, classroom and restrooms.

The PEC's North Carolina Mapscape Exhibit is a 70' x 30' walk-on topographic relief map Mapscaperepresenting North Carolina and the surrounding states. Mountains, valleys, islands, rivers and other geographic features are carved into the concrete surface allowing visitors and students to see the "big picture" of how these features interrelate and influence human communities. Brass monuments on the Mapscape identify major cities and historical sites.

We offer special field experiences and classes for students from Kindergarten through High School. Teachers can contact the PEC for class details to reserve a date for their students. Maximum number of students at PEC is 75. For groups larger than 75, please look to arrange two days. PEC presents classes rain or shine. In the event of inclement weather, staff Naturalists are prepared with alternative class experiences within the curriculum framework and appropriate to the attending grade level. In the case of severe weather alerts or forecasts, a PEC Naturalist will contact the school to discuss options.

In addition to our programs for school groups, PEC offers programs, trips and camps throughout the year for individuals and groups of all ages. Call PEC for more information.

Current Programs

Fall Birding and Breakfast - ages 18+
November 22, 2014
7-9a.m.  Fee:$3 per person for PEC members; $5 per person for non-members
Deadline for enrollment: 11/21/14
Take a peek into the amazing world of winter resident bird species that are found in our area during winter. PEC's forests provide excellent habitat to permanent residents as well as winter migrants such as white-throated sparrow, golden and ruby-crowned kinglets and winter wren. After morning refreshments, participants will take a walk on the trails with spotting scopes and binoculars to look and listen for several of these resident and migratory bird species. We invite beginners as well as experienced birders to participate. Binoculars will be provided to those who do not have them.


Fall Wild Edible Plants and Fungi - ages 18+
October 18, 2014
9:30-11:30a.m.  Deadline for enrollment: 10/15/14
The background of autumn leaves signals the final turning point of the growing season for most of the Piedmont's wild plants and fungi. Many have stored energy reserves for next spring in their roots and stems, while others have ripening berries, nuts and other fruits ready for dispersal. If you are looking to add something wild to your salad or spice up your banana bread recipe, join us for a morning walk on the trails to identify 15 common wild edible plants and fungi. We might even taste a few things!


Halloween Safari - ages 3+
Wednesday (Group Night), Thursday, Friday
October 29, 2014
October 30, 2014
October 31, 2014
7:30-9:30p.m.  Fee:$4 per person, $1 per person - ages 5 & under
No spooks but plenty of surprises await kids and adults on PEC's trails at night. Meet "animals" who tell amazing things about their lives up close and personal as you make your way through the darkened woods. Snacks and a campfire complete this unusual Halloween education adventure. All participants should bring a flashlight. Safari hikes last about 45 minutes. Group night is Wednesday, groups should register by October 22.


Outer Banks Kayak Eco Tour - ages 18+
October 2, 2014 - October 5, 2014
Fee:$170 per person for PEC members; $205 per person for non-members
Deadline for enrollment: 9/30/14
Occurring like a string of pearls along our state's coastline, the North Carolina barrier islands are a fascinating, scenic, and important network of maritime forests, creeks, saltwater marshes, sounds and open ocean. The resources support a vast array of wildlife and are perfect for exploring by kayak. PEC staff will lead this coastal camping and kayak adventure. All kayak equipment, meals, instruction and guies are included.


Trees and Fall Color Change - ages 10+
September 27, 2014
2-5p.m.  PEC's south preserve forest was once homesteads and farmland. Now the preserve is dominated by hardwood trees and species such as hickory, maple and oak, which exhibit distinct and attractive seasonal color change, especially in the fall. Participants will learn about the natural history and environmental aspects of PEC's forest tree species, comparing and contrasting the color change among trees and how they are affected by weather conditions. We will also discuss how animals that rely on trees adapt to the change in season.


High Point Parks & Recreation Department
136 Northpoint Avenue • High Point, NC 27262 • (336) 883-3469 • Fax - (336) 883-8524

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