Appalachian Educators Explore New Ways to Connect Nature to the Classroom
The pristine autumn fall colors and Burr Oak Lake served as the backdrop for the Appalachian Green Teachers Conference, held in late October each year at Burr Oak State Park and Conference Center in Glouster, Ohio.
Over 100 educators attended the two-day event hosted by Rural Action and Camp Oty’Okwa, with support from Wayne National Forest, AEP Ohio, and the Environmental Education Council of Ohio to learn together about ways to incorporate nature and hands-on exploration in their teaching practices. AGCT, now in its ninth year, is an important networking opportunity and a time of renewal for the environmental education community. Teachers from counties the Appalachian Ohio region and beyond discussed topics including: bats, phenology, snails, watershed health, native craftspeople, Appalachian history, and outdoor behavioral health as part of workshops in the Burr Oak Conference Center, on Burr Oak trails, and in the surrounding communities via field trips that explored the wide variety of learning resources available to teachers.
Other highlights of the conference included the demonstration of fish harvesting in Sunday Creek, led by staff from the Raccoon Creek Partnership and the Ohio University Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, and a tour of the Ohio Museum Complex at the Ridges.
This article was written by Dan Vorisek, Rural Action’s Environmental Education Director.