Youth Environmental Stewardship Program

Youth Environmental Stewardship teaches students about the natural wonder and ecology of Southeastern Ohio through hands-on environmental education.

But it also does much more:
        • Increases levels of environmental knowledge and stewardship ethics among local youth. This gives youth the tools they need to care for the land and improve their quality of life and wellbeing.
        • Gets kids participating in community service
        • Provides interactions with positive adult role models
        • Develops youth leadership and team building skills
        • Connects community members with opportunities to volunteer in environmental education efforts
        • Supplements in-school programs with community programs, giving us multiple opportunities to reach children
        • Empowers and connects interested students with job opportunities in ecology and sustainable ecotourism in the region

Rural Action’s Environmental Education team facilitates programs at libraries, festivals, after-school programs, and two weeks of watershed day camps in the summer. Our team leads activities that help kids bond with and understand our local forests and streams. These activities range from discovery hikes and pond studies to survival skills workshops and much more. The YES program has received funding from the Athens Foundation and Rocky Community Improvement Fund—we thank these local organizations for their commitment to the health and well-being of children in our region. We also provide professional development workshops for formal and informal educators. Please call (740)767-2225 or email to learn about upcoming workshops and events in the area.

Sunday Creek Watershed Day CampRural Action runs two week-long day camps each summer in partnership with Sunday Creek Watershed Group and Monday Creek Restoration Project for children in these watersheds.

Each camp is a week of fun-filled adventure for up to twenty-five campers, who explore streams, engage in service projects, learn about the environment through games and activities, visit with area professionals, and eat freshly prepared, quality local food.

Highlights of 2016 Camp included:

  • First-hand exploration of the local watersheds as a tool to connect children with and educate about their regional ecosystem
  • Fresh, local food for daily lunches including food from Snowville Creamery, Frog Ranch, and Shagbark Seed and Mill
  • Canoeing down the Hocking River and exploring an Ohio University Lab with the Scientist Day Camp
  • Swimming, canoeing, and fishing instruction at Burr Oak Lake
  • Each Monday Creek and Sunday Creek camper took home his or her own new fishing pole

*2017 Tenative Dates Announced*

Sunday Creek’s camps will take place the weeks of June 12th-16th and June 28th-30th. Stay tuned for more details! See contact information below for any inquiries. Monday Creek’s dates TBD.

For Rural Action’s Summer Camps

Please click on this link for more information and when to register!

Spring Break Escape 2016

This years we offered our first Spring Break Camp during Athens City School Distract and it was a fun filled time. Kids enjoyed going to Wildcat Hollow and than to Burr Oak Beach for some canoeing. The water might have been cold but here are some of the highlight:

  • Seeing Louisiana Water Thrushes during bird watching
  • Falling into the stream; not just students but also adults
  • Getting to practice and start their own fires
  • Canoeing on Burr Oak
  • and getting to sing a camp song on the way back!

Thanks to everyone who joined us this year and excited for next year!

Sunday Creek Watershed Day CampRural Action has partnered with Athens County Public Libraries to bring educational activities to area youth (and their parents/guardians) through free programming located at public libraries around Athens County.


These programs are interactive, educational, open to ALL ages and usually include story time with relevant books chosen by library staff. Watch for upcoming library programs in your area on the Athens County Public Library website, or visit our upcoming events calendar here!

Some past library programs have included:

  • Solar energy as the center of all food webs, playing with solar-powered cars and solar ovens
  • Survival techniques, including: making natural water filters using moss, rocks and socks; shelter building; and primitive fire-making
  • A solstice event at the Athens Library including primitive fire-starting
  • Nighttime hikes to search for muskrats along the Hocking River
  • A tree-focused program including an experiment watching plants “make air” underwater and creating a take-home forest in a jar
  • A bird-themed evening making Snowville milk carton bird feeders, bird-watching and playing a bit of bird bingo
  • A tree education program with a Chestnut tree sapling to take home and plant
  • Three-day summer camps at the Athens library all about bugs