By Jilly Anderson, AmeriCorps Member

Appalachian Understories is getting a little help from students in a Strategic Communications class at Ohio University.

The students, who are seniors in the Scripps School of Journalism, are working diligently to create a marketing strategy for Rural Action’s newest social enterprise, which offers guided experiences in Southeast Ohio. Students say this project has not only given them the ability to grow within their respective fields, but also that working with Appalachian Understories has opened their eyes to ecotourism and the culture of Appalachia.

Currently, students are conducting surveys on campus to get a sense of the demographics as well as discussing what modes of marketing would be most beneficial for other small businesses in Athens.

“It’s interesting to see how few people know about guided hikes and ecotourism opportunities in the area,” one student says. “Even people who are natives to Athens that I surveyed said they were not aware of any ecotourism or guided hikes in the region.”

The students are focused on utilizing social media to increase awareness about Appalachian Understories, and will be developing their strategies further in the coming weeks.

Want to check out some of the events Appalachian Understories is hosting? There are hikes to learn about everything from the history of the pawpaw tree, to a vernal pool exploration.

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