Environmental Education

Rural Action’s Environmental Education program connects students and teachers in Appalachian Ohio with outdoor learning opportunities.

We collaborate with schools to meet science, language arts, math, and social studies standards through environmental education.

The Environmental Education team helps young people develop a sense of place and gives them tools to make informed decisions about their natural resources. Our programs introduce students to academic and professional paths related to natural resources. We offer:

      • Environmental education workshops for educators, including our annual Appalachian Green Teachers Conference.
      • Summer day camps – the longer summer days spent in the creeks with the crawdads and salamanders
      • Environmental education programs for schools, tied closely to academic standards
      • Youth Climate Action Team, an environmental leadership program led by Rural Action and Camp Oty’Okwa
      • Birds in the Hills, a family fun festival May 8-10, 2020. Listen to our podcasts from previous years.
      • Ecotours like our Birds, Bikes, and Brews Tour
      • Internship and volunteer opportunities

Looking for home-based environmental education activities?

In response to COVID-19 closures, we have have starting sharing our favorite nature activities online! Follow the Young Naturalists Club blog for outdoor activities for kids each week.
Visit the Young Naturalists Club

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Appalachian Green Teachers Project (AGTP)

Working with teachers to bring environmental education into the schools. Learn More

Youth Environmental Stewardship (YES)

Building environmental stewardship ethic in youth through extracurricular activities. Learn More


Citizen Science + Climate Change Monitoring

Connecting citizens to birds, bugs, butterflies, frogs, and buds while gathering scientific data. Learn More


Links + Resources + Training Opportunities

Explore natural history, teaching resources and our amazing partners. View Now

Environmental Education Staff

_GU14505Joe Brehm | Environmental Education Program Director: My obsession with the outdoors started when my dad took my brothers and me for walks through the woods near my childhood home near Zanesville when we were old enough to walk. We tracked deer, raccoons, foxes, and learned to be comfortable outside.

My first formal study of the natural world began with a butterfly monitoring project, where I learned just how many different kinds of wildflowers, insects, and trees Ohio harbors. I have spent countless hours since then studying and exploring wilderness areas both large and small. While hiking or walking virtually anywhere, I make frequent and abrupt stops to inspect animal tracks, scat, birds, vernal pools, etc.

I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Montana, and went on to earn my Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies at Ohio University. I have coordinated Rural Action’s long-standing Environmental Education program since May of 2010 and thoroughly enjoy sharing my passion for the natural world with others. We strive to connect students, teachers, and community members with outdoor classrooms in the region and the hands-on learning opportunities they offer.

The Ohio Stream Restore Corps Three members of the Ohio Stream Restore Corps—Rural Action’s AmeriCorps program—serve in Environmental Education each year, bringing a unique set of skills and expanding the reach of the program.

Funders + Sponsors