North Georgia Canopy Tours

Who says physics can’t be fun? They can be very entertaining when you use them to go zip lining. And that’s what we do at North Georgia Canopy Tours in Lula. Of course we go zip lining with a focus on physics and environmental education. That means getting employees to explain how Isaac Newton’s basic laws come into play in their jobs. Teachable Moments include explanations of Newton's First Law of Motion, friction, and watersheds.



We're willing to bet this is the most interesting explanation of watersheds you'll ever see, but you'll have to watch it to find out why.

Newton's First Law

Newton's First Law

We get a little background on Sir Isaac Newton, along with a detailed look at his First Law of Motion.



If you want to zip line safely...and we do...then it'll help to understand the basics of friction.

Northeast Georgia Mountains

Special Thanks To

Kirk and Leah Watkins, Marie Stringer, Jesina Ellison, Jonathan Marzillano, City of Lula


MARIE: This is what I wanted to do, and I happen to have everything that they needed for this job. And it was wonderful. And I cannot express how happy I was to finally realize that I get to do what I want to do every day.


VO: Welcome to another episode of Fast Forward, the series you have to watch closely, or you just might learn something.

VO: Today we're headed up to Lula, Georgia-home of railroad days. Man that sign is accurate.

VO: We're visiting the friendly folks of North Georgia Canopy Tours. What is a canopy tour? Well, it's kind of...this.


VO: But more about that later. Before you can fly through these North Georgia trees, you have to learn a little science.

JESINA: And now for a teachable moment.

VO: Isaac Newton was a guy from England who spent a decent amount of the 17th and 18th centuries trying to get a handle on how the earth works. Some of it seems pretty basic now, but back then he was breaking serious ground.

VO: He's probably best known for his three laws of motion, the first of which says that an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest, unless acted upon by another force.

Now, when it comes to an object in motion, like someone zip lining through a forest, the force affecting it can be wind, or gravity. And by the way-don't try this at home.

Now then, where was I?

JESINA: We're telling you about Clipping and zipping!

VO: Right. Thanks. Let's get a little more info on North Georgia Canopy Tours.

JONATHON: North Georgia Canopy Tours I your full experience for everyone in the family.

JESINA: It incorporates adventure and education.

MARIE: We have two courses of zip line setup. One is 2 hours and one is 3 hours.

JONATHON: Speeds going through the trees are up to 35 miles per hour and maybe being up to 70 feet high.

JESINA: We can kind of leave them with a little bit of knowledge of the North Georgia environment and the surroundings around us.

MARIE: We are set up with zip lines, sky bridges, hiking, and a rappel-if you're lucky.

JESINA: And then we have a disk golf course.

VO: Jonathon steps up to the 18th green. He's looking at about 10 feet, sloping up and to the left. A gentle breeze blowing out of the West. He lines it up and...It's in the hole!

VO: It sounds like you guys have pretty cool jobs.

JESINA: There is no job cooler than the job I do every day.

Now let's go zip lining. Come on!

VO: But given Isaac's first law about an object in motion staying in motion staying in motion, let's talk about one of the ways you slow down. Can I get an intro?

DAVE: And now for a teachable moment about friction!

RANDOM VOICE: Friction makes everything fun!

JONATHON: So, were going to talk a little bit about friction, which is created by two objects rubbing against one another.

MARIE: One way we slow down at the end of a zip line is by applying a gloved hand to the cable, and applying a force.

JONATHON: Thus, slowing you down as you enter a platform.


VO: Okay, this is cool stuff. Flying through the trees hanging by a wire...speaking of which...How strong is that wire?

JONATHON: The zip lines that we use out here are actually a 1/2 inch cable and they are weighed at up to 26,600 pounds.

MARIE: These zip lines can hold up an SUV. If fact, I think we should have an SUV race down the racing zip.

Now those are all terrain vehicles.

So we're almost done.


VO: And it's not like I want to shove another teachable moment in here. But I'll be honest; I think you're going to like this one.

(GRAPHIC SEQUENCE) First, you have to understand what a watershed is. A watershed is an area of land that carries water from rain or snowfall and channels it down to soil, streams and rivers, eventually making it to the sea.

Now that you have a handle on watershed basics, Jesina's got something to say.

JESINA: This here is what we call the Continental Divide, because it rides pretty much right on the ridgeline here. It has to do with watershed. If you spit on the left side as you zip down, your spit will join the watershed that flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

If you spit to the right as you're zipping down, your spit will join the watershed that flows into the Atlantic Gulf.

VO: Which way are you spitting?

JESINA: I'm going to spit both ways. Actually, I'll spit right down and maybe half will go one way, half the other way.

VO: Man, this episode was packed...

...Isaac, disk golf, friction, watersheds and of course...

JESINA: Clip'n & zipp'n!

VO: Marie, you get the final word.

MARIE: I get to do what makes me truly happy every day of my life. I think it takes a little courage to break off from what people are telling you what to do and to realize what you love and you want to do with your life.

VO: Words of wisdom, and plenty to think about until our next episode of Fast Forward.


This content was developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. However, this content does not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.