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 inquiry-based, 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 Inquiry Conference November 1-3 at Burr Oak State Park. 
      • Our summer camps that are hosted with Sunday Creek. Click here for more information on next years summer camp. Tentative dates are June 12th through 16th and June 28th through June 30th.
      • Environmental education programs for schools, tied closely to academic standards
      • Birds in the Hills is a family fun festival that we host with Camp Oty’Okwa in the Hocking Hills that bring in local naturalist and experts to talk about birds. Join us next year May 5th through the 7th at Camp Oty’Okwa. Listen to our podcasts from last year to stay connected.
      • Lessons and activities for after-school programs, libraries, community events, etc.
      • Ecotours like our Birds, Bikes, and Brews Tour
      • Internship and volunteer opportunities
      • Opportunities for community members to engage in local citizen science programs like our Southeast Ohio 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 Coordinator: 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.


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