Join Rural Action and Camp Oty’Okwa for the 10th Annual Appalachian Green Teachers Conference Oct. 26-27 at Burr Oak Lodge & Conference Center! This two-day hands-on experience is for teachers and non-formal educators interested in environmental education. Email about scholarships.


Would you like to present at this year’s conference? Submit a proposal!

2023 Schedule

Conference Schedule (** = outdoor session; check back for more workshop updates)

Thursday, 10/26 9:45-11:45 a.m.

  • Outdoor Art Projects for Pre-K and Elementary – Jenna Balazs, Hocking County SWCD
    • Partnering with Elementary Art teacher and 4th graders to design and paint storm drains on school grounds
  • Cause and Effect using the Climate Fresk Game – Taliesin Haugh, Rural Action
    • A fun, student-led introduction to ClimateScience based on the IPCC. Become a trained facilitator able to lead discussion groups through difficult, charged topics.
  • Astronomy, Stargazing and the Ohio Solar Eclipse- Tom O’Grady – SEO History Center
    • stargazing basics, archaeoastronomy, and Ohio astronomy history. We’ll also catch up on all the buzz about the Ohio Solar Eclipse coming on April 8, 2024 – the first time in Ohio since Tecumseh was here on June 16, 1806.
  • Getting to Know Trees** – Julie Gee, Burr Oak State Park
    • The forest at Burr Oak State Park contains a diversity of trees that make up the eastern deciduous forest. In this session, we will use leaves, bark patterns and fruit to identify trees along a 1-mile trail. The interesting natural history of trees will also be revealed.
  • 1st Hour:Jenna Balazs- Hocking SWCD, Storm Drain Art / 2nd Hour: Molly Gassaway- CFI, Creative Garden-Related Activities for our Youngest Gardeners

Exhibit Viewing 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Thursday Lunch and Keynote ” Outdoor Education At the Alpha School” – Jeffrey Baker

More Exhibit Viewing and Networking

Thursday, 10/26 3-5 p.m.

  • Project WILD-Climate and Wildlife – Jen Dennison, Ohio DNR
    • Receive Project WILD’s Climate and Wildlife module and gain experience for classroom applications by participating in selected activities.
  • Animals in Winter; All About Adaptations – Brittany Spratt, Edge of Appalachia
    • Investigate the different ways animals survive in the winter by utilizing museumspecimens and/or live animals! The focus of this engaging session will be on comparing how ectothermic & endothermic animals survive in the winter, but also touch on ecosystems, food chains/food webs, and adaptations. Participants will also discover how to adapt and improve lessons based on updated research as well as explore local resources for obtaining teaching materials.
  • Aquatic Biology/Macroinvertebrate Stream Study** – Amy Macke & Jen Bowman, Ohio University Voinovich Center, Raccoon Creek Partnership
    • Learn basic stream biology / exploration to look for macroinvertebrates and fish. We will also be discussing the Appalachian STEM Enrichment Accademy and the OHIO Museum Complex. A gallery exhibition in the OHIO Museum Complex features a digital kiosk inviting learners to explore aquatic biology and check out instruments to conduct water sampling at home, at school or in the Outdoor Museum.

Thursday Dinner and Keynote “Growing on The Inside While Outside” – Courtney Ryan

Friday, 10/27 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

  • Guided Forest Therapy Walk** – Nicole Kennedy, Hopewell Health
    • Participants will be guided on a forest therapy walk inspired by the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.” Our walk experience will offer a series of invitations to connect participants with the more-than-human world through their senses. Potential benefits of forest therapy include stress reduction, enhanced immunity, and connection to place. Following the walk, guide Nicole Kennedy will share about her practice experience, application to the Appalachian region, and approaches to deepen nature-based connection with adults and children. Light snacks and tea will be offered at the end of our walk. Participants are welcome to pack their own snacks to enjoy, if preferred. Any other comfort items needed to support your experience outdoors are welcome.
  • Grant Writing 103 – Dennis Clement & Heather Lauer, Ohio EPA
    • Review OEEF Mini and General Grant Applications. Learn the good, the bad,and the ugly of reviewing grant applications. You will get grant application ideas and see what works and what doesn’t work.
  • Survival Skills from Indigenous Cultures** – Carrie Vieland & Amy Nicolai, Rural Action
    • Learn to build a wigwam, make primitive fires and enjoy stories about how Native Peoples lived on what is now Ohio land. Participants will receive instructions on how to build a Wigwam with their group or class, how to make a bow drill, how to start primitive fires, and information about what life was like for the indigenous peoples of Appalachia. These lessons will be tied to Ohio Education Standards in Social Studies and Language Arts.
  • Using the Population Education Classroom Resources – Cathy Knoop
    • Capture your students’ attention with a question. Engage their interest through hand-on activities. Expand their knowledge with delightful children’s literature. Using guided inquiry, this session will demonstrate how activities from Population Education can help your students understand concepts related to curriculum. The children’s literature books will complement each activity. Population Education will provide access to all activities and additional resources which are tied to state standards.
  • “Better Student Nutrition with Live Healthy Kids” – Bailey Borland

Friday Lunch and Keynote “Counters to Modern Day Progress” – Jen Nickel

Friday, 10/27 2-4 p.m.

  • Social Skill Development for Creating Positive School Culture – Dan Vorisek, Rural Action
    • In the effort to get youth involved in learning and taking care of our world, students must first be able to work together respectfully and with common goals. This workshop will highlight outcomes of an ongoing project launched by Rural Action to bring teamwork and social skill development to more students through adventure education.
  • Exploring the Ecology of the Eastern Hardwood Forest** – Paul Knoop
    • Participants will have better knowledge of how the Eastern Forest functions so they can share it with their students. Hand lenses for closer observations are recommended for this session.
  • Rocking the Classroom: Interactive Inquiry Bringing Geology into the Classroom – Jen Parson & Carolyn Sheehan, Ohio Museum of Discovery
    • Attendees will learn about a successful interactive, interdisciplinary geology program that has been implementedwith various age groups and venues. Using this program as a jumping-off point, we’ll discuss what teachers can create in their classrooms that tie into the Next Generation Science Standards’ inquiry-based practices, as well as current scientific practice, all through a place-based lens.

Graduate Credit

Graduate credit is available for this conference. To receive credit, email for details

Contact Information

For more information, registration questions, or for scholarship info: 740.677.4047 ext. 300,


The Appalachian Green Teachers Conference is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors:

American Electric Power
Environmental Education Council of Ohio
Camp Oty’Okwa
Rural Action