Alphabetical list of the current members of the collaborative:
(To search, use CTRL-F on your keyboard.)

Jenny Morgan–Founder and Co-Chair
Alice Hohl–Co-Chair

Leave No Child Inside Central Ohio Collaborative Steering Team

Jenny Morgan

    • : Collaborative Founder and Co-Chair

Alice Hohl

    • : Collaborative Co-Chair and representative from Camp Fire USA Central Ohio Council

Betsy Loeb

    • : Representative from Action for Children

Sara Vance

    : Representative from Camp Fire USA, Central Ohio Council


Janene Giuseffi

: Recreation Specialist

Olivia Aguilar

: Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Action for Children

Contact: 78 Jefferson Avenue Columbus, OH 43215; 614-224-0222

Betsy Loeb ext. 126;;
Katie Sandford ext. 515;
Founded in 1972, Action for Children (AfC) is the source for childcare and early learning services in Central Ohio. AfC provides quality professional development to child care center teachers, directors and home child care providers. In FY2006, approximately 5,100 participants accessed 3,100 hours of classes. AfC’s collaborators included Columbus State, OSU, YMCA, OCCRRA (Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Agency).
Our high-tech age and standards-driven culture fosters a mix of learning opportunities for us all. AfC embraces what is developmentally appropriate for young children and an educational philosophy that values children’s natural inquisitiveness and hands-on play approach to learning. In this context we also promote the role that the physical environment—indoors and outdoors—plays on the child’s learning and over-all well being.
AfC hopes to create an environmental education curriculum and train staff of after school and early childhood programs on the significance of the outdoors for a child’s healthy growth and development.

If a child is to keep his inborn sense of wonder,
he needs the companionship of at least one adult
who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
~ Rachel Carson

ADAMH Board of Franklin County (Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health)
Kythryn Carr Hurd, Network Services Manager
447 East Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215;  614-224-1057
ADAMH — the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County — is making a difference in our community, restoring and improving people’s lives. ADAMH funds, evaluates and plans for the necessary services in our community then purchases care from community experts. Our mission is to improve the well-being of our community by reducing the incidence of mental health problems and eliminating the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in Franklin County. We do not provide any direct service, but instead contract with more than 40 local agencies you know and trust. These community not-for-profit agencies provide quality mental health and alcohol/drug addiction treatment services on a sliding scale fee, so that regardless of income, you can receive the help you need. Community professionals also work in hundreds of schools to provide prevention programming to help young people avoid ever using alcohol or drugs.

Adventures With Grandma
Contact: Barbara Kay Velez Barbosa
This program exists to share life experiences and education with children, families and community to create awareness, respect, as well as love for preserving and learning about nature.

American Academy of Pediatrics, Ohio Chapter
Contact: Melissa Wervey Arnold, Executive Director
The Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the health, safety and well-being of children and adolescents so they may reach their full potential. The Ohio AAP will accomplish this by addressing the needs of children, their families, and their communities, and by supporting Chapter members through advocacy, education, research, service, and improving the systems through which they deliver pediatric care.

Anna Winders 
PhD Education Candidate
I am a PhD student conducting research on Natural Deficit Disorder and I am planning a research study in Spring/Summer 2018 to gauge the impact of educational nature inclusion on standardized testing.

Annehurst Village Garden Club in Westerville
Contact: Janet Laster
The purpose of the Annehurst Village Garden Club in Westerville, Ohio, is to improve and beautify the environment of our community through education, first to our own members, then passing it on to others; and socialize with others who share our love of plants. Consequently, we have collaborated with the Annehurst Elementary School to install a Rain Garden at the school as a land laboratory for thier students; sponsor and lead the Annehurst Youth Garden Club members to encourage their school mates to go outside to play and learn through activiteis with the Rain Garden. Through these activities we encourage our children to garden and enjoy beautifying and improving their environment through gardening at home and in the community.

Audubon: Grange Insurance Audubon Nature Center
Contact: Heather Starck, Director
Grange Insurance Audubon Center
692 N. High Street, Suite 303 Columbus, OH 43215; 614-224-3303
The Grange Insurance Audubon Center awakens and connects participants to the beauty of the natural world in the heart of Columbus and inspires environmental stewardship in their daily lives.

Becca Zak
Cleveland Metroparks Outdoor Recreation Specialist
rebeccamayjocelynz@gmail.comAs a life-long student and steward, I wish to live in harmony with my world; to make as big an intellectual impact as possible, while minimizing my ecological path of destruction. I act as an advocate for rekindling humanity’s relationship with Mother Nature. Working as a researcher with The Ohio State University, I strive to understand the disconnect between children and the environment, thus converging that divide to promote sustainability, stewardship, and a healthy and low-impact lifestyle. The importance of nature with emotional, physical, and spiritual development is boundless, and with this knowledge, I plan to inform and shape the lives of those who seek and hear my message.

Bethany Vosburg-Bluem
Ohio State University Ph. D. Social Studies and Sustainability Education
I will be graduating from OSU shortly and am looking forward to contributing to these efforts in any way I can. This includes but is not limited to – professional development, teaching K-16 students, networking, researching, connecting, supporting, community block captain/organizer, etc.
It breaks my heart that I didn’t even know it was spring break in my neighborhood since no one was outside playing in this beautiful weather!

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio
Contact: Megan Bayes Projects Coordinator
Since 1942, Camp Oty’Okwa has been owned and operated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. Group mentoring in nature offers youth a new and different environment to interact with their peers, while receiving guidance and support from adults. Camping allows for learning and for change; a planned program in the out-of-doors from which the children can derive personal, social, emotional, cognitive and physical benefits. Operating year-round, Camp Oty’Okwa also provides other programs such as Environmental Education for school groups and a variety of rental opportunities for most any size group. All rental proceeds support all BBBS programs.

Buckeye Healthy Schools Alliance
Contact: Heather Vilvens, Executive Director
Our Vision: Healthy Youth, Successful Schools, & Thriving Communities  Our Mission: On behalf of Ohio’s Students, promote a coordinated approach to school health that supports educational achievement for lifelong success.

Bring the Farm to You
Contact: Christa Hein, Founder
Bring the Farm to You is a mobile education center, bringing a taste of the farm right to your door.  Engaging programs provide schools, libraries, child care and senior centers, scouts, homeschoolers, parties and events with fun farm-based experiences that will “wow” your audience.  Bring the Farm to You programs provide the know-how, tools and equipment necessary to create a top-notch learning event tailored to your needs.

Programs include: live animal visits, chick hatching, beekeeping, wool spinning, growing classrooms, school gardens, composting, apple cidering, and more!  Visit our website for more information.

Serving all of Ohio!

Camp Akita
Contact: Danita Wolfe, Akita Facilities Director
3777 Dublin Road Columbus, Ohio 43221; 740-385-3827
As has always been the tradition of Akita, First Community Church welcomes young people of all ages and all faith traditions to enjoy the natural surroundings and serene atmosphere that is Akita. We welcome you to embrace the spirit that is Akita.

Camp Wyandot, Inc.
Contact: Lindsey Christ, CEO
1515 W Lane Ave Columbus, OH 43221;  614-481-8227
Camp Wyandot has been in the camping business for nearly 100 years! Through traditional resident camp, day camps, and family camping, we seek to provide meaningful and direct contact with nature. Within the next two years, we plan to develop a full range of outdoor education opportunities for the spring and fall months. Camp Wyandot was formerly affiliated with Camp Fire USA. In 2013, our local council became independent to better serve the needs of area youth with a mission focused on inclusiveness and outdoor activity.

“No amount of lovely old towns and grand
cathedrals can make up for the comradeship
and out-of-doors and the activities and
beauties of life in the pine woods.”
~ Charlotte Gulick

Camp Mary Orton
Contact: Marci Ryan
Camp Mary Orton Website
Camp Mary Orton has helped thousands of teams experience change and growth through our adventure based activities. Groups ranging from school classrooms to corporate executives have utilized this type of programming to improve their overall level of functioning. LCC offers groups a variety of team building activities including Ground Initiatives, High Ropes Course, Adventure Elements, Wilderness Bond programs. Every experience is custom designed to meet the needs of your group.

Camp Wanake
Contact: Julie Lautt
9463 Manchester Ave. SW, Beach City, OH 44608; 330-756-2333
Sharing the love of the creator through creation. Providing a place of nature for everyone.

Cedar Bog
Contact: Eric Doerzbacher
(937) 484-3744
Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is an Ohio Historical Society site managed by the Cedar Bog Association, a nonprofit organization that serves the public in preserving and interpreting the natural history, geology and history of Cedar Bog

Central Community House
Contact: LaShawn Capito
Central Community House (CCH) is a private non-profit settlement house that has maintained a “quiet tradition of caring” since 1935. Today, CCH offers a variety of programs designed to strengthen family, neighborhood and community life within an identified service area that includes most of the southeast quadrant of the county. CCH is the only settlement house within this area.

City of Dublin
Contact: Míme Migliore, Nature Education Coordinator
City of Dublin
Parks and Open Spaces
6555 Shier-Rings Road Dublin, OH 43016; 614-410-4730

City of Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department
Contact: Mary Beth Hudson
City of Reynoldsburg
7232 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068; (614) 322-6806
Our mission is to deliver programs for the enrichment of the community. Our specialized skills and interests are in youth sports, nature education, and grant writing.

Columbus Public Health
Contact: Jennifer Smith, Safe Routes To School Coordinator
240 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH
The mission of Columbus Public Health is to improve lives and protect health.

Columbus Public Health Healthy Places Program
Contact: Christine Godward, Coordinator
240 Parsons Ave Columbus, OH 43215; 614-645-5318
The mission of Healthy Places is to enhance healthy and active living by 1) establishing development policies and practices that reduce negative health impacts and by 2) creating places that foster physical activity as a part of everyday life. The Healthy Places program recognized when opportunities are designed for children to be physically active, all users are accommodated. The Healthy Places program is currently advocating for walkability and bikeability in the neighborhood planning process; commenting on development proposals; conducting walking audits with neighborhoods that result in neighborhood walking maps and a report of findings; and working within other City of Columbus processes to ensure that children and people of all ages have safe, convenient access to physical activity as a part of their everyday life.

I like nature because it provides shade.
~ Caroline, 5 yrs old

Columbus Department of Recreation and Parks
Contact: Elayna Grody
Mission Statement: To enrich the lives of our citizens.
The department provides and maintains parks, pools, recreation centers and nature preserves and provides activities through camps, recreation center programs and park activities. We truly believe that your leisure time is one of your most valuable assets. Filling time with the right things for you, enhances your quality of life. We try to make certain we offer something for everybody, whatever their age or interest. Take a look and you will find numerous exciting, informational, creative and accessible programs. If fall days just spent with your friends and family enjoying the outdoors is what you want, you’ll find plenty of places to enjoy that too. Whatever you choose, on behalf of our Commission, City Council, the Honorable Michael B. Coleman and the Columbus Recreation and Parks Staff wish you well.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Contact: Barbara Revard; 614-645-3448,
Danielle Ross; 614-724-3551,
It is the mission of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to promote awareness and understanding of the interdependence of the natural world and to present to our community interactive, participatory, and educational exhibits and activities that represent that relationship.

The Zoo shall achieve this mission by teaching and participating in conservation, both on and off-site, contributing to the discovery of biological knowledge, offering enjoyable education and family-oriented recreational opportunities, and instilling in all who visit a sense of adventure and discovery.

Currently we offer several programs for children, ages two through adult. These include our Summer Experience day camps, Camp-Ins (weekend overnights), scouting opportunities, the Battelle Zoo Science Quest, which targets students visiting the Zoo on field trips and a teen volunteer program, ZooAides.

As the Zoo grows, we continue to look for opportunities to expand these programs ‘“ including collaborations with other local organizations. In addition the Zoo is developing a Teens for Planet Program, which is aimed at promoting environmental awareness and action.

Look deep into nature, and then you will
understand everything better.
~Albert Einstein

Consider Biking
Contact: Jeff Stephens, Executive Director
Consider Biking shares a concern about the inactive lifestyles of children.
Mission: Our mission is to get more people bicycling in Central Ohio.
Our Vision The vision of Consider Biking is that the joy of bicycling is experienced by all, and integrated into our environment.
Bicycling, walking and active transportation improve quality of life by:
* Enhancing physical and mental health, protecting the environment,
* Encouraging energy efficiency,
* Supporting economic development,
* Creating safer communities,
* Increasing social cohesiveness,
* Fostering independence,
* Contributing to a culture of inclusiveness, empowerment and fun.

COSI Columbus
Contact: Sharon Tinianow
COSI’s Mission Statement ~ as adopted in 1964
COSI provides an exciting and informative atmosphere for those of all ages to discover more about our environment, our accomplishments, our heritage, and ourselves. We motivate a desire toward a better understanding of science, industry, health, and history through involvement in exhibits, demonstrations, and a variety of educational activities and experiences. COSI is for the enrichment of the individual and for a more rewarding life on our planet, Earth.

Last summer, a native prairie was planted in COSI’s outdoor area. We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of insects, birds and spiders that have shown up in only two growing seasons. We hope the Summit will give us some good ideas on how to interpret this new experience with guests. In addition, COSI is looking for ways to encourage families to explore the outdoors through exhibits, programs, and partnerships.

Bill Costello
Horticulture Teacher
I am interested in learning the best practices of gardening for Special Needs Students in the context of play, exploration and plant science.

Coyote Trails

Contact: Sandy Wilmore
Coyote Trails School of Nature is a family-focused, experiential wilderness skills school. It is in teaching others that we learn and grow ourselves. At Coyote Trails wilderness school we are dedicated to the nurturing of all families through stories of the past and a vision for the future. Students of all ages are welcome!!
Coyote Trails offers summer camp experiences and sessions during other seasons where families can come and grow together. Locations in Oregon and Ohio.

The Dawes Arboretum
Contact: Sarah Kafer – Education Director
7770 Jacksontown Road Newark, Ohio 43056 740-323-2355
Dedicated to increasing the love and knowledge of trees, history and the natural world. A unique educational experience in any season, The Arboretum offers access to a variety of native habitats and ecosystems through winding trails within the 1,800 acre grounds.

Q: If you had a magic wand and could do
something special for nature…what would you do?
A: If someone was trying to kill a butterfly, I would
give the butterfly special powers…really good
hearing…they would hear the person trying to
hurt them, and the butterfly would make them nice.
~ Alice, 5

Delaware Area Career Center, Environmental Technologies
Contact: Paul Grimes
Environmental technologies program prepares students for careers in Environmental Sciences and other non related careers, by learned material and applying it to real life situations many of wich are in the outdoors. Students study areas of Dendrology, Aquatics, Alternative Energy, Sustainability, Wildlife Management and Environmental law and issues. Students are also required to complete 75 hours of community service.

Contact: Maureen Metcalf, Board President
earthtouch is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving land and promoting healthy interaction between people and the natural world. We operate a nature preserve on more than 386 acres of protected land, forest and water in Southeastern Ohio near the Hocking Hills, providing natural spaces and learning experiences as the foundation for understanding personal, ecological and global health.
Reconnect with nature, reconnect with yourselves!

Contact: Lois Day, Treasurer
(614) 793-8843
EcoWeekend, an educational outreach program of the Columbus Audubon Society, offers a weekend of fun, fact-filled programs and is for anyone who wants to learn more about nature while enjoying a picturesque setting in the Hocking Hills of Ohio.

Environmental Education Council of Ohio
Contact: Brenda Metcalf, Executive Director
We are a nonprofit organization for individuals and organizations committed to education, outreach and training about the environment. Our Mission is: EECO leads in facilitating environmental education that fosters global stewardship and a sustainable future for all Ohioans. Our Vision is: All Ohioans are environmentally literate and engage in decision making that ensures sustainability for future generations.
We are also the Affiliate Organization for the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) that is currently working Nationally on No Child Left Inside Legislation. For more information you can visit, or

Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District
Contact: Vicki Kohli, Education Specialist

The Fairfield Soil and Water Conservation District works with the county and city schools for Environmental Education programming in all disciplines and grade levels. I do indoor as well as outdoor education with students, sometimes at the school itself, and other times at nature centers. We assist with land lab layout, design, and usage. We sponsor soil judging, conservation poster, and high school envirothon contests. We also sponsor a 5th grade tree seedling give-a-way to the entire county. We co-sponsor Earth Camp annually in the summer, and Earth Day in April. I work with teachers, as well as the Educational Service Centers, hosting workshops and delineating proficiency outcomes. I write a single issue annual teacher newsletter as well as a weekly newspaper column on conservation.

Family Nature Summits
Contact: Sue Sabo
(614) 846-0205
Family Nature Summits provide a fun and stimulating outdoor-oriented vacation, offering participants the opportunity to enjoy and learn about nature and the environment.

Summits offer a broad variety of activities and programs that appeal to singles, couples and families.

For Your Health Ohio, Physical Activity Plan
Contact: Jody Dzuranin
Ohio’s Physical Activity Plan is a statewide plan of action developed by the citizens of Ohio to address the epidemic of physical inactivity and its far reaching consequences. This plan acknowledges that increasing physical activity alone will not sufficiently reduce chronic disease or obesity rates in Ohio. A companion nutrition initiative is under development and should be released later in 2008.

Four Seasons City Farm
Contact: Leslie Markworth
c/o Old First Presbyterian Church
1101 Bryden Rd. Columbus, Oh 43205; 614-252-2237
Mission statement:
Four Seasons City Farm is committed to building a sense of community and renewing our urban neighborhood by beautifying our area, by turning abandoned lots into gardens, by creating a self-sustaining and cooperative food production sytstem, and by deomonstrating a sense of hope, belonging and spiritual renewal through sharing the garden work. We work with neighbors of all ages, especially sharing the gardens with children in youth programs from neighborhood agencies throughout Columbus.

“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” ~ Wendell Berry

Franklin County
Contact: Tyler Benack
373 South High Street, 25th Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 525-3948

The mission of the Benefits and Risk Management Department is to provide health and wellness program benefits to members of the Franklin County Cooperative Health Benefits Program and to mitigate occupational and property risk to Franklin County employees so that they can live healthier, safer lives.

Franklin County Board of Health
Contact: Elizabeth Kress, Health Educator, Franklin County Board of Health
280 East Broad Street Columbus, OH 43215

The Franklin County Board of Health does not currently have a program that brings together children and nature. I am interested in attending this summit because we have a commitment to the health of our citizens. We are also forging closer relationship with the fourteen public schools districts and some of the private schools in Franklin County. I feel that the summit will allow me to network with other organizations and potentially form partnerships that will improve the health and wellbeing of Franklin County children.

Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
Contact: Linda Pettit, Environmental Education Specialist
1328 Dublin Road, Suite 101 Columbus, OH 43215; 614-486-9613

Description: Franklin SWCD is a local government resource (county
subdivision of Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil
and Water Conservation) focusing on promoting responsible land use and
decisions for conservation, protection, and improvement of soil and
water resources through partnering, technical guidance and education.
The Education Team provides presentations to students in and out of the
classroom, workshops for educators and activities for families at
community-wide events. The focus of these programs is soil and water
quality, especially preventing erosion and storm water run off. Our
major outdoor experience is stream quality monitoring. We partner with
local parks to provide students with the experience of looking for
macroinvertebrates, identifying what they have found, determining the
quality of the stream, and discussing what factors (human and natural)

could impact the stream quality either positively or negatively.

Do trees have families? ~ Abby, 3yrs old

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW)
Contact: Heather Dean, Watershed Coordinator
Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy– through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision makers.

Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, Inc.
1700 WaterMark Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43215; 614-487-8101

Our Mission: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Girls develop their leadership potential through activities that enable them to discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to improve the world around them. Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland Council, headquartered in Columbus, serves more than 30,000 girls and more than 4,000 adult volunteers in 30 counties. We offer outdoor programming year-round to both Girl Scout members and school groups.

The Godman Guild Association
Contact: Ellen L. Williams, Director Youth and Family Services
303 E. Sixth Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43201
614-294-5476 (v) 614-294-3933 (f)

At Godman Guild’s Camp Mary Orton, located in Worthington, Ohio just north of Columbus, a variety of programs are offered that expose youth and children to the joys of outdoor fun and adventure. Our two summer day camp programs, PRIDE and Summertime Safari operate 2 four week sessions each and focus on academic enrichment and social skill development. Adventure Academy, which incorporate hiking, environmental education and outdoor skills with team-building adventure
activities, is a weeklong adventure based camp. Wilderness Bond provides a creative learning environment that combines adventure education and social work facilitation to improve the essential skills required to achieve success at home, in school or work, and throughout life.

The Graham School
Contact: James Kutnow, Assistant Dean of Experiential Education 614.262.1111
The Graham School is a public secondary school with a charter granted by the State of Ohio with a focus upon Experiential Education. As the primary means of articulating our mission to “encounter the world and engage the mind,” we offer students from the 9th grade forward a balance of classroom and experiential learning opportunities.

Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Contact: Heather Starck, Center Director
The mission of the Columbus Audubon Center is to awaken and connect participants to the beauty of the natural world in the heart of Columbus and inspire environmental stewardship in their daily lives.

Although currently in development, the center is taking a community-based approach to defining and delivering programs.
For the last three years our summer Urban Conservation Crew program engaged over 200 students from inner city Columbus in the study of the life within and issues surrounding the conservation of our natural resources. Last year this program served as an enrichment session for local elementary school camps and was instructed under the direction of GIAC staff by alumni from our middle school camp.
Our school program is growing out of the needs defined by the school’s located within a 5-mile radius of the center and focuses on increasing student’s scientific process skills by using our site as a case study in managing an Audubon designated Important Bird Area so close to an urban core. Combined with nature exploration, students perform field investigations that aim to answer science questions and see nature as a part of their local environment. The program is a partnership between GIAC staff and school faculty and is comprised of multiple site visits throughout the academic year.
As the center grows we hope to engage children of all ages and their families in nature based programming that serves both our mission and community’s needs. Working with our community partners we are developing a nature based pre-school and after school program and hope to find a niche for community festivals, events, and citizen science projects.

Kaiser Family Foundation, 2004, estimates that the
average child now spends 6 hrs daily watching TV,
playing video games, or on a computer

Green Matter, Limited
Contact: Michelle Harris
Green Matter, Limited is an environmental education company designed to encourage people of all ages to THINK with their brains (gray matter), bring about CHANGE (live greener) and take steps to SPREAD awareness about the environment all using “Bug Ambassadors” (live arthropods – insects, spiders, scorpions, etc.) as attention-getters, teaching tools and role models.

Bugs are used as a focus to facilitate interest and give them the attention they deserve and need amidst environmental pressures such as global warming, habitat loss and pesticide use. Insects are the most diverse organisms on earth and play a huge and important part of cultures all over the world, yet they are greatly under-appreciated and misunderstood. Bugs are everywhere and everyone has experiences with them, both good and bad. They offer many lessons and connections with a wide range of subject matter including science, engineering, medicine, art, math, music, literature, food and so on.

Several programs will be implemented to help fulfill the need to get science in the classroom (STEM) and the community, and to get kids (and adults) outside learning more about nature and its inhabitants ‘“ to help cure “nature-deficit disorder” as coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods. These programs will be inquiry-based, participatory-based, project-based, school-based and community-based and include such things as insect conservation, citizen science, recycling/composting, gardening, exploring nature and scientific experimentation. Green Matter also strives to build collaborative teaching/learning communities among students, teachers, scientists, researchers, naturalists, etc., both online and offline, as well as locally and globally…

“If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.” ~E. O. Wilson

Green Plate Club
Contact: Christine Hughes
268 E. State Street Athens, OH 45701; 740-594-7311
“The mission of the Green Plate Club is to improve nutrition and enhance learning environments in local public schools by promoting
healthful and ecologically balanced foods in the cafeteria. To further the understanding that what’s healthy for children is healthy for the planet, we strive to bring the community values of ecological and social interdependence, economic justice, and flourishing health into the school environment by way of the school food program.”
Green Plate Club Logo


Grove City Y
Gretchen Carpenter, Youth, Camp, Teen Director
We believe the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for life. Because of the Y, more young people in neighborhoods around the nation are taking a greater interest in learning and making smarter life choices. At the Y, children and teens learn values and positive behaviors, and can explore their unique talents and interests, helping them realize their potential. That makes for confident kids today and contributing and engaged adults tomorrow.

Nicole Haas
TogetherGreen Youth Intern/ Student
I am a student at The Ohio State University and an intern at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service through the TogetherGreen Youth fellowship program. After reading Last Child in the Woods I have become inspired to become involved in the Leave No Child Inside movement. Also, I am working to create a community action project with my internship. I have decided to create educational gardens at an under-represented school campus.

Heart of Ohio Resource Conservation & Development
Contact: Traci Aquara, Program Administrator, Heart of Ohio RC&D
557 Sunbury Road, Delaware OH 43015; 740-971-1189
Mission: … to enhance quality of life in central Ohio by facilitating the sustainable use of natural and economic resources.
Vision: “A sustainable regional community with open spaces, clean air and water, and natural habitats in balance with a viable mixed economy that includes agriculture, commerce, industry, and tourism.”

Hoover YMCA Park
Contact: Lecia White, Director of Outdoor Programs
1570 Rohr Rd, Lockbourne, OH 43137; (614) 491-0980
Mission: We believe the values and skills learned early on are vital building blocks for life. Because of the Y, more young people in neighborhoods around the nation are taking a greater interest in learning and making smarter life choices. At the Y, children and teens learn values and positive behaviors, and can explore their unique talents and interests, helping them realize their potential. That makes for confident kids today and contributing and engaged adults tomorrow.
At the Hoover YMCA Park, we provide many opportunities for children to learn, grow and thrive through the outdoors, including day camp, adventure programs, environmental education, school days out and more!

Indianola Children’s Center
Contact: Tina Gratitude, Business Director, Indianola Children’s Center
1970 Waldeck Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201; 614-262-1090

We are a very small child care center, located within the OSU campus area, in the Indianola Presbyterian Church. We are in the process of revamping our playground, wanting to transform it into a true outdoor classroom, with a focus on nature. We have many parents who are committed to the “green” movement, local-ovres and vegetarians, so the philosophies of Leave No Child Inside fit great with our center. As we design our playground/outdoor classroom, we would like to gear away from “plastic” and would like to support your movement. We both shall “win”.

Jane’s Montessori Academy
Contact: Tammy Chabria, Principal/Owner
The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth. -Dr. Maria Montessori

Jessica Lowery, Consultant
I’ve read the book, “Last Child in the Woods”. And I’ve taught a class called “Our Children and Nature”. Being outdoors is something that I’m really passionate about, and I live in central Ohio – so, when I saw this website, I thought, “Perfect!”

Joanie Calem, Singer and Storyteller
Contact: Joanie Calem, musician
I am a musician, music educator, amateur environmentalist, and a parent of a special-needs child. I know that my own children do better when they have time outside, and I know that my students do better when they have time outside. For the sake of both us and our children, I sing and teach about appreciation and observance of the outdoors.

The Junior Explorer Club
Contact:Michele Rapp, CEO
We are unplugged from electronics and plugged in to the world around us

Steve Kolwicz, Landscape Architect/Partner at POD Design;

As a designer of outdoor play environments for more than 15 years we encourage the development of natural play spaces to our municpal, school and pre-school clients (one example being the nature play area which opened this summer at Millstone Creek Park in Westerville). I believe our role as designers of public and private outdoor environments affords us the unique opportunity to promote not only an active lifestyle but also an interaction with nature in structured and unstructured settings. Properly designed play environments should foster creative and self directed play in addition to those traditional activities available on play equipment. Through our park and play area design work we strive to develop spaces that inspire our youth and to nurture a love of the outdoors that will impact generations to come.

Jim Krumpelman, Recreational Tree Climbing Instructor
Fun in Tree (FIT) Adventures

Jim MacDonald
Sports Medicine Physician
I read Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods and was looking for something to do in response to the sadness I felt for our children. I first learned of the Leave No Child Inside movement for my Children’s Hospital colleague, Wendy Anderson. I then met Jenny Morgan and was duly impressed!

Local Matters
Contact: Michael Jones, Executive Director, Local Matters,
Office: 614.263.5662

Local Matters is a not for profit organization located in Columbus, Ohio. We play a key leadership role in ensuring that the entire community of central Ohio has equal access to local, healthy and sustainably grown food.

We believe that local, healthy and sustainably grown food has the power to transform, sustain and build community in Central Ohio, the city of Columbus and the neighborhoods within our city limits. We also believe that we can harness the power of healthy food as an important key to community change. Just as healthy food nourishes the individual’s body and soul to create health and well being, so it is capable of nourishing and transforming the neighborhoods we inhabit into healthy communities by affecting systemic social, economic and environmental change our region.

Licking Park District
Contact: Rich Niccum, Operations Administrator, Licking Park District
PO Box 590 Granville, Ohio 43023; 740-587-2535
The Licking park District provides a wide variety of outdoor/nature programming, many of which are geared towards families and youth.

Matt Dickinson
Research Ecologist, US Forest Service
The US Forest Service is working to get “More Kids in the Woods”, a goal that coincides with the mission of the Leave No Child Inside Collaborative. I am working with local organizations to combine biking with environmental eduction along Columbus’ river greenways.

Marci Bird
Parent and Volunteer
I am a parent that spends many hours volunteering with kids at a rural public school in Delaware county. We are trying to build community among the kids and the families through engagement with the natural world. We believe getting kids outside with other children of all ages can foster an understanding of the interconnectedness of people and their social and environmental communities. We think puddle stomping, bug investigations and running through the woods howling like coyotes is a great way to spend an afternoon and we want to share that experience with as many kids as we can.

The Mary Evans Child Development Center
Contact: Jamy Zambito, Administrator
The Mary Evans Child Development Center has been celebrating childhood for 20 years.

Mayor’s Office, City of Columbus
Contact: Eric L. Brandon, Policy Advisor, Mayor’s Office, City of Columbus

I am passionate about healthy activities for youth, nature – it’s appreciation and preservation, and becoming more informed about outdoor activities available in central Ohio. I have been a Big Brother Big Sister (BBBS) volunteer for 5 years. I am also the Mayor’s Office Liaison to the Department of Recreation & Parks. I look forward to learning more about initiatives that I may be able to support in my professional role as well as enjoy personally. Additionally, I wanted to support Susan Ashbrook (Mayor’s Environmental Steward) given her inability to attend.

Megan Tourangeau
PreK teacher at The Compass School
Inspiring students to explore nature, fostering creativity, discovery, and a connection to the world around them.

Kelly Mertz, biologist
Professionally, my career focuses on the environment via assisting clients in compliance with State and Federal laws, particularly the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act. I have opportunity to meet folks from every walk of environmental perspective: from folks who are passionate champions for the environment, to folks who are – at best – reluctant stewards of the environment, to those who altogether dismiss the environment as worthy of their time and attention. In my personal life and as a mother, I strive to give my two small children the tools they need to understand their environment and how they fit into it. To set our children forth into the complex array of environmental and related quality of life issues awaiting them without providing them these tools would be nothing short of remiss. To that end, it is critical that all children are provided realistic, actual opportunities to explore and understand nature. A walk in the woods, a sit by a stream – these are the unique moments with the capacity to instill in a child in moments a respect and appreciation that hours otherwise could not. The curiousity invoked by flipping over a rock, or the knowledge gained when we realize and understand we are part of an enormous, interactive web of life can lead to more knowledge-seeking, a desire to learn about and even protect, and a sense of confidence and belonging.

My volunteer experience includes L.I.N.K (Hanover, Indiana; Big Sister), STAF (animal shelter in Cincinnati, Ohio; kennel volunteer), Cincinnati Youth Collaborative (Cincinnati, Ohio; Big Sister) and Share Our Strength (national campaign aimed at ending childhood hunger).

Metro Parks

John O’Meara, Executive Director

Metro Parks provides places and opportunities where children can learn and explore in safe, clean, outdoor environments close to home. We offer hundreds of programs every year designed to help children get in touch with the natural world, plus great places to discover with friends and family.

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission
Contact: Erin Miller and Leslie Strader
MORPC truly believes that it is the interaction people have with the environment that will translate into a true awareness, and caring for the sustainability of our natural resources. For this reason, MORPC coordinates Riverfest, an annual festival on the banks of the Scioto River in downtown Columbus. During the event in 2007, over 500 individuals were able to take a boat ride on the Scioto and over 2000 people learned about water-related issues at our many exhibitor booths provided by our colleagues at Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District, OEPA, Dawes Arboretum, local watershed groups, and others.
Additionally, MORPC works to synchronize the planning of greenway trails which typically run alongside waterways allowing residents and visitors the opportunity to use alternative transportation methods while experiencing the beauty and serenity of Ohio’s precious resources, our rivers and streams. Easy to use maps including the Greater Columbus Green Map and Central Ohio Greenways have been developed by MORPC to encourage and make it easy for individuals to get outside.

Mount Gilead State Park
Contact: Marilyn Weiler, part-time naturalist, retired elementary teacher

I do programs for all ages at the park and at area schools and libraries. I’m an adjunct instructor for Ashland University and a PLT, WILD, FLP, and WET facilitator. We have organized the Morrow Environmental Education Committee in our county and do several activities and programs through that. We are presently planning a workshop “Going Wild in Your Classroom with Animals” at the Lutheran Memorial Camp on October 29.

I wonder if snails can stick to stuff. ~ Jemma, 5

Mt. Victory Community Improvement Corp.
Contact: Peggy Harrison
(937) 354-3334
108 N. High St. Box 25, Mt. Victory, OH 43340
I used to teach with Jamy Zambito of Upper Arlington. We are on the same page with child development and school issues.

Muskingum Valley Hunt Club
Contact: Linda Phillis
We have several children involved in our club, and love to have others involved. Would love to see more children involved in dog training, hunting, fishing or general exploring the outdoors. If it is just observing nature in the raw.

The Mustard Seed Retreat
Contact: Pam Hitchcock

Since reading Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods, like so many others, I’m passionate about getting kids back to nature. It all began last fall when I offered my first nature/writing class; Mudpies, Maples and Memories. Since then we’ve planted Sunflower Houses, made Rock Necklaces, Compost Cupcakes, played musical stumps and made Stump Man, created a gum tree…oh what fun!

Nancy Gregory
Environmental Educator
740-323-2355 ext. 1239
The Education dept. at The Dawes Arboretum is dedicated to offering numerous opprotunities year round for families, school age children and adults to grow in their love and knowlede of the natural world. Hopefully we can learn from each other in this collaborative to help our youngest citizens have positive learning experiences in the outdoors.

Nationwide Children’s Hospital – Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition
Contact: Andrea Hedge, CTRS.
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Therapeutic Recreation Department
Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition
700 Children’s Dr. Columbus, OH 43205
On behalf of the Therapeutic Recreation Department and the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition, I work with patients to increase their physical activity and identify accessible and affordable community resources, programs and areas. We are very excited about the resource calendar! Nature is the best therapy!

Nature’s Classroom Ohio Conference
Contact: Mark Johnson
33833 Township Road 20, Brinkhaven OH 43006; 740-599-6996

Neena Jean
Cedar Bog Association Education Chairperson
My hope to for children to learn to enjoy nature and all it’s forms, not be afraid of it. I want them to become connected to nature so they will want to continue to preserve it.

We do Outdoor Experiential Education for public and private schools, grades K-8.

Ohio Division of Wildlife
2045 Morse Rd. Bldg G
Columbus, OH 43229
Contact: Jen Dennison, Wildlife Education Coordinator
614-265-6316 phone

To conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all.

Ohio EPA, Office of Environmental Education

Contact: Carolyn Watkins

Contact: Jeffrey Montavan, Public Information Officer
50 W. Town Street, Suite 700
Columbus, OH 43215
United States

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), Office of Environmental Education (OEE) and the Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) provides free science/social studies related curriculum to all schools (public/private) across Ohio. We also offer grant writing workshops for those interested in writing grants to the OEEF and other funders. OEEF offers grant ($5,000 – $50,000) funds for environmental science projects to Ohio schools, non-profits and universities in the Pre-Kindergarten – University, Regulatory and General Public Audiences.

Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden

Contact: Julie Stone and Rick Stanforth
Our Facility is continually developing tours and educational programs for children in the Residence and Garden. One of our goals is to introduce visitors to some of the unique eco- systems in Ohio. Also to introduce some basic concepts such as Glaciation, Geology and some introductory information about native plants. We also present solar energy and are building a green building to demonstrate more alternative energies and technologies. We also have programs being developed to discuss agriculture in Ohio and other topics.
Our interest in attending the summit is to learn ways to help excite children about nature and direct them to interesting Parks and natural areas. We are a high profile facility and could hopefully help draw attention to these programs.

Ohio Nature Education
Mission Statement: We are committed to creating an awareness of and appreciation for Ohio’s natural habitat and wildlife by offering informative and entertaining education opportunities to people of all ages. Our hope is to instill in each person a sense of conservation and stewardship for our natural world.
Ohio Nature Education (ONE) is a nonprofit organization founded in May 1997 by Manon Van Schoyck, formerly Clinic Director of the Ohio Wildlife Center and Board member and Education Chair of the Columbus Audubon Society. ONE holds Special Purpose Education and Salvage permits from the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
ONE has two missions: (1) to provide a permanent home for more than 38 non-releasable wild animals that are too sick or injured to go back into the wild; and (2) to incorporate these animals into environmental education programs. ONE’s goal is to instill in its audiences an appreciation of our natural world.
Since its founding in May 1997, ONE has conducted nearly 2000 programs for more than 90,000 children and adults in 13 Central Ohio counties. ONE now averages more than 300 programs annually on 40 program topics, all of which meet the Academic Content Standards in Science and some of which meet those standards in Social Studies.
ONE’s regular customers include the Columbus & Franklin County Metro Parks, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and many schools, scout troops, civic groups and garden clubs. We pride ourselves in offering programs for people from pre-school age to senior citizens.

If we want children to flourish,
to become truly empowered, then
let us allow them to love the earth
before we ask them to save it. Perhaps
this is what Thoreau had in mind when
he said, ‘˜the more slowly trees grow at
first, the sounder they are at the core,
and I think the same is true of human beings.’
~ David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia

Ohio Parks and Recreation Association

Contacts: Woody Woodward, Executive Director

Charlotte Walker, Interim Executive Director

The Ohio Parks & Recreation Association is…..
a non-profit, public interest organization representing over 1600 professionals and citizen board members involved in providing leisure facilities and opportunities to all Ohioans as well as the tourists who visit our state each year. Ohio has become known as a trend setter in the nation with parks and recreation often singled out for national test markets and pilot programs. We are the trade association for parks and recreation professionals around the state; as such, we have varied interest groups who work with youth and focus on health and wellness for ALL of the state’s citizens, including children.
OPRA was initially organized in 1934 as the Ohio Recreation Association, with a separate organization, the Ohio Parks Association, formed in 1942. In 1963 ORA and OPA Incorporated to become OPRA. The Association is directed by a Board, executive director and administrative staff.

One of the first conditions of happiness is
that the link between Man and Nature shall
not be broken.
~ Leo Tolstoy, In Happiness

Ohio State Parks (Region 1)
Contact: Matthew Minter, Senior naturalist, Region1 Ohio State Parks
Pike Lake, Rocky Fork, Paint Creek, Lake White

I am assigned to Pike Lake State Park where I have worked as Seasonal Naturalist for the past 25 summers. Other Naturalist duties include Paint Creek, Rocky Fork, and Lake White, where I do nature programs in all four parks and maintain 3 nature centers. We offer family programming designed to introduce children and their parents to nature and hopefully foster an appreciation of nature through education. In addition we offer programs like “forestry field day” where 500 5th graders from the entire county attend a day at Pike Lake State Park and stop at stations to learn all about forests. This is a cooperative effort between Ohio Division of Forestry, Ohio State University, the US forest service, Ohio State Parks, Gladfelter (formerly Mead Paper), Ohio Division of Wildlife,

Ohio Division of Soil and Water, and the Pike Co. Commissioners.
This past summer, I instituted a new program in our region, called “Future Naturalist,” where children collect stickers on a card for attending educational programs in the parks. Completion of the card will earn an embroidered patch.
These different organizations, also including the “Science Alliance”  at the USEC plant site, present topics on environmental science to the students.

The Ohio State University Extension
OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
Contact: Joe Heimlich
210 Kottman Hall 2021 Coffey Road Columbus, Ohio 43210; 614-292-6926

OSU Extension is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University. The environmental programs through OSU Extension, and the environmental education program in the School of Environment and Natural Resources are focused on life span, out-of-school learning for individuals, families, associations and groups, and communities. Much of the work I do is with zoos, nature centers, museums, parks, gardens, and other conservation based environmental organizations. The capacity building work is focused on enhancing environmental knowledge within visits to these settings. Although not focused solely on children, most agencies, institutions, and NGOs work with lifespan audiences and there is a tremendous need to consider how messages we’re giving children about nature and the environment are or are not supported by the culture in which the children live. For children to be outside, they need role models in parents, educators, relatives, friends, and leaders who are with them outside and encourage and support being outdoors.

I wonder what happens when a squirrel falls
out of a tree. ~ Jemma, 5

Ohio Wildlife Center
Contact: Barbara Ray
6131 Cook Road Powell, OH 43065; 614-734-9453
Wildlife Admissions Hotline: 614-793-WILD
We are the Ohio Wildlife Center. We are not a state agency; we’re a volunteer-driven non-profit organization dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of Ohio’s native wildlife. Each year, Ohioans bring nearly 5,000 animals into our wildlife hospital, and we provide educational presentations to thousands of children and adults in the Central Ohio area.
Over the past 30 years, we’ve worked toward our mission by not only treating sick, injured and orphaned animals, but also by educating the public about what they can do when they find themselves in a situation where they are interacting with wild animals. Yes, we have full veterinary facilities to take care of wildlife species that are brought to us, but our goal is to teach people that humans are a wild animal’s last chance for survival. Truly, we work to teach people that they need to keep the wild in wildlife.
The best place to start with education is with children! Not only do we take our live animal ambassadors off-site to schools and outreach events, but we also and invite field trips to our Nature Education Center in Powell, conduct week-long Summer Wildlife Camps and host scout groups. Please check our website for wildlife camp dates and times ‘“ you can even register online! If you’re interested in scheduling other animal programs, like field trips or scouting groups, please call us at 614-734-WILD (9453).
The Second Sunday of each month (Feb – Nov), OWC’s Nature Education Center is open to the public from 12p-4p.  Our Cook Road facility in Powell (just north of the Village of Shawnee Hills) is home to over 50 wild animal ambassadors. None of these animals would survive on their own in the wild, and each animal has their own story of survival. 

Olentangy Paddle
Contact: Lisa Daris, Owner
(614) 421-8187
860 Walnut Dr. Columbus, OH 43235-1253 United States

I was inspired to launch Olentangy Paddle because of my belief in empowering others to engage with nature. Gaining confidence in the skills of paddling is one pathway to so many opportunities for young people – leadership, career navigation, life/work balance, stress-relief, etc. I have read and loved Richard Louv’s writing for so many years that I applied it to my life’s calling and I look forward to working with a local community of like-mindedness.

Preservation Parks of Delaware County

Contact: Sue Hagan, marketing & communications manager, ext. 5
2656 Hogback Road, Sunbury, OH 43074; 740-526-8600

Want to learn about birds, mammals, amphibians & reptiles, habitats, trees, and all things nature? Or do you just want a quiet walk to enjoy forests, meadows and streams? Preservations Parks of Delaware County is the place for those and so much more! We’re the natural areas park district in Delaware County, and we provide passive recreation activities, such as hiking and picnicking, while keeping development to a minimum. Walking paths and viewing areas allow people to get close to nature without disturbing it. Our naturalists offer hundreds of nature education programs on a wide variety of topics in our parks, in schools and to scout and other groups. We also offer special events throughout the year, including a popular summer concert series and an annual eco festival–The Green-Wise Fair! Preservation Parks is funded primarily through property taxes generously approved by Delaware County voters; the most recent 10-year levy passed in 2008. Funding is augmented by grants and donations. Come join us.
Nature. It’s Yours to Explore! 


Project Learning Tree Ohio
Contact: Sue Wintering – Coordinator
c/o ODNR Div. of Forestry (state sponsor) 2045 Morse Rd. Bldg. H-1 Columbus OH 43229

PLT – Ohio, through a network of volunteer facilitators, serves PreK-12 grade students by providing workshops for formal and informal educators/youth leaders that includes award-winning fun and interactive environmental education activities that increase young peoples’ understanding of our environment as well as stimulate their critical and creative thinking, and ability to make informed decisions regarding environmental issues, ultimately gaining the confidence and commitment to take responsible action. PLT has an initiative known as “Every Student Learns Outside” with info available at The PLT curriculum materials are correlated to the Ohio Academic Standards for Science and are currently being aligned to the state Social Studies standards as well. View these at For over thirty years PLT has been at the cutting edge of education providing experiential learning opportunities that work well indoors and outside. PLT uses the forest as a window into the natural world regarding many varied environmental issues.

Puppy Scents/Kaleta Publishing, LLC
Contact: Mindy Kaleta, Life Coach
Our Mission: Through our Puppy Scents Project Education, we aim to teach kids to Be Kind, Be Fit, Be Me through outdoor play while creating forever friendships between kids and pets.
Our Vision: For every child to have and experience the joy of pet animal friendships through outdoor play and exploring nature.

Recreation Unlimited

7700 Piper Road Ashley, Ohio 43003-9741
P: (740) 548-7006 F: (740) 747-3139

The mission of Recreation Unlimited is to provide year round programs in sports, recreation and education for individuals with disabilities while building self-confidence, self-esteem and promoting positive human relation, attitudes and behaviors. Currently Recreation Unlimited provides outdoor education for participants utilizing a variety of resources including Project Learning Tree, Project WILD and Project WET as well as knowledge from educated staff.

Kids need to be outside, and it’s nice for kids
to be outside because they can feel the air and
see the birds and dance around.
~ Aubrey, 5

Red Oak Community School
Contact: Cheryl Ryan, Director
To be a learning environment that respects childhood, honors individual potential, and fosters connection to self, others and the natural world, made accessible by building community and sharing resources.

Ross County Job and Family Services
Contact: Maryjo Flamm-Miller
Discovery Tree Family Service and early childhood education are part of Ross County Job and Family Services.

SCOPS South Central Ohio Preservation Society
Contact: Kezia Sproat
The Society is dedicated to the preservation of natural lands and historic landmarks, centered mainly in the Chillicothe area.

St. James the Less Catholic School
Contact: Irene Lindelow Brian Rutti
Special Education Teacher Second Grade Teacher

Teachers at St. James the Less Catholic School have become increasingly concerned about children’s diminishing contact with nature. Our efforts to connect students with the natural world include planting projects, interaction with animals, such as our therapy turtle, and ecology related lessons and field trips. We promote earth-consciousness, beginning at a local level with litter pick-ups and recycling, to understand the global importance of conservation. For children, engaging actively and frequently with nature promotes knowledge, curiosity, scientific inquiry, concentration, and a sense of wonder and responsibility for all God has created.

Michael Hohl, Ph.D.
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
I work with families whose children have attention disorders. Instead of playing in the woods, these families are involved with traveling sports teams and computer games. The children are in a state of hyper vigilance and over activity. My office offers a small counterbalance to the effects of nature deficit disorder. Clients walk into the office past a small pond where they may feed the fish before or after their appointment. Inside the waiting room, a small waterfall splashes amid plants. Tactile clients like to play with the Zen sand garden. The really adventurous can go to the back lot and climb a real tree.

Sandy Willmore
K-12 Outdoor Education Coordinator for New Albany Schools
Instructor at Coyote Trails Ohio

The Salvation Army
Contact: Maj. Frank Kirk, Divisional Secretary for Greater Columbus
Jonathan Klemanski, Camp Director
The Salvation Army in Greater Columbus and Greenwood Lake Camp and Retreat Center
966 E. Main, Columbus OH 43205

The Salvation Army owns and maintains a well-equipped camp in the city of Delaware, Ohio, which is available for community use and also hosts Salvation Army programs, such as a church-oriented camp, church retreats and camping trips, and field trips for children from our After School Learning Centers. We understand that, no matter what the program, when camp is used as the delivery method the impact of the lesson, class, retreat or event is much greater. We are currently hosting a small Christian school that is operating at our camp during the school year. We are interested in learning more about how to keep our camp full during the year and use it to its maximum potential, while staying true to our mission: The Salvation Army, an international! movement, is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.

A society grows great when old men plant trees
whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
~ Greek Proverb

Shepherd’s Corner
Contact: Melissa Camp, Director
987 N Waggoner Rd Blacklick, OH 43004; 614-866-4302
Diane Kozlowski, O.P.-Program/Volunteer Manager

Shepherd’s Corner is an organic farm and ecology center supported by the Dominican Sisters, St. Mary of the Springs, where we care for life, land and spirit.

Mission: Shepherd’s Corner is a small corner of creation seeking to recreate the lands’ wholeness by rediscovering the life-giving harmony between people and the land. Here, people of all backgrounds can learn to reconnect with the natural environment, themselves, one another, and the Creator who made them all.
Currently we are providing children with outdoor experiences through gardening, nature exploration, art and service learning. Many of the children we serve come from the inner-city, who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to experience a working farm.
In the future we would like to offer a summer “earth camp” and an expanded children’s garden program.

Sierra Club – Central Ohio Sierra Club Group
Contact: Kelli Drummer-Avendaño, Chair
131 North High Street, Suite 605 Columbus, OH 43215; 614-327-4713

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in Central Ohio by informing citizens of critical environmental issues that affect them, encourage environmental activism, as well as provide activities that encourage exploration and enjoyment of the outdoors. Along those lines, we host several outings each month of varying degrees of difficulty that take place in Central Ohio’s metro parks and neighborhoods. Families are big participants of these outings. In the near future we hope to start an Inner-City Outings program specifically targeted to children and families who may not have access to outdoor programs.

As a child, one has that magical capacity
to move among the many areas of the earth;
to see the land as an animal does; to experience
the sky from the perspective of a flower or a
bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe
beneath us; to know a hundred different
smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously
to the soughing of the trees.
~ Valerie Andrews A Passion for this Earth

Somali Education and Resource Center
Contact: Mohamud Jama, President
398 South Grener Ave. Columbus, Ohio 43228; 614-377-6813
Contact via Email

The mission of the Somali Education and Resource Center is to provide skills and literacy by expanding the knowledge of immigrants and refugees by teaching them the financial, social and cultural skills that provide a foundation to attain self-sufficiency.

Stratford Ecological Center
Contact: Christa Hein, Education Director
3083 Liberty Rd. Delaware, Ohio 43015; 740-363-2548

Stratford Ecological Center is a 236-acre working organic farm and state nature preserve in Delaware County serving children from all over central Ohio on school field trips, scout visits, home school tours and public visitations. In addition, they have an exciting calendar of adult education programs which include festivals, family programs and monthly groups on simplicity, green parenting and herbal study. Stratford is appreciation-based, focusing on helping people reconnect to their food and providing experiences that allow people to feel a connection to the natural world.

Suzan Jervey
I have a variety of experiences working in the public sector and now work free-lance as an environmental educator providing educational programs to landowners, homeowners, the general public and school children. When I heard Richard Loev speak at a conference a number of years ago, it was an incredible AHA! moment for me. As I grew up, I had that special place where I could explore and be a child. I had also been spending my professional career sharing my passion for nature and could finally understand why some of the things I did worked or didn’t work. I continue to be a student of nature and how to share nature with others.

Treebeard’s Retreat
Contact: Lina Mendez Howison, Ph. D.
Lina and her husband Peter are building an 80-acre retreat in SE Ohio (Hamden, Ohio, some 85 miles from Columbus) with the specific aim of creating a way for children to connect with nature.

Urban Wild Limited

Contact: Amy Dutt, Designer and Project Manager
3575 Morey Rd., Ostrander OH 43061

I have designed and implemented Outdoor Learning Environments for schools and obtained a Project Wild grant, with my personal focus on an intimate connection with Nature and wildlife. Urban Wild Limited has designed and implemented Outdoor Learning Environments and edible gardens for schools, providing varied services along the way: community involvement, collaborator identification and involvement, ‘Dreamstorming’, program and curricula development, grant writing, media involvement, and installation project management.

Barbara Velez Barbosa
Environmental Education Specialist

Barbara has a degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as an ODE Teaching Certificate for Pre-Kindergarten to Third Grade. She is a Certified Habitat Ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation and a Certified Facilitator for: ODR Project WET & Healthy Water, Healthy People, Project Learning Tree, and Project WILD. She is recognized as a Master Gardener in Fairfield County.

Wayne National Forest

Contact: Ann Grasso

13700 US Highway 33 Nelsonville, Ohio 45764; 740-753-0101
The U.S. Forest Service has a long and proud tradition of reaching out to Americans on behalf of conservation. From Smokey Bear, to NatureWatch, to Project Learning Tree, the U.S. Forest Service has worked across programs and disciplines to integrate conservation education into much of what we do. If we are to meet the conservation challenges of the 21st century, then we must spread environmental literacy across America, focusing first and foremost on kids. Through a challenge cost-share program called More Kids in the Woods, the Forest Service is contributing to a growing national movement to bring kids to nature’”and nature to kids. Click Here to view the 2008 More Kids in the Woods projects or visit
The Forest Service has several inter-related programs to help engage children of all ages in nature-based activities to enrich their lives, promote health through outdoor experiences, and develop the next generation of forest stewards. In Ohio, contact the Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio to explore opportunities of how you can get involved in the national campaign.
Our most important resource in this country is not forests, vital as they are. It is not water, although life itself would cease to exist without it. It is people. The challenges of climate change and looming water shortages will not be resolved in a few years. It will take generations. Today’s children’”and theirs’”will need to be able to take the baton and continue the race. For that, they will need a full understanding of why forests are so valuable, along with a strong land ethic. It is our job to give them both.
– Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell

Integrity Sustainable Planning and Design
Susan Weber, Principal
Integrity oversees the planning, implementation and maintenance of edible school gardens and natural play spaces through partnership with diverse community partners.

Wendy Anderson-Willis, M.D.
Contact: Dr. Anderson-Willis
I believe that every child has the right to play outside and it is up to the adults to create a world where this is possible.


Westerville Parks and Recreation Department.
Contact: Laura Horton, CPRP Program Manager
350 N. Cleveland Ave Westerville, Ohio 43082

We currently offer some classes in archery and preschool classes on bugs and such. We are interested in learning how we can incorporate this into our program offerings.

Whole Kids Project
Contact: Dave Orsborn, Managing Director
“A community of individuals, businesses, and organizations committed to fostering a generation of youth who are physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually strong.”

The Wilds
Contact: Denise Natoli Brooks, Conservation Education Specialist
740-638-5030 x 2116

Wilds Mission: to advance conservation through science, education and personal experience.
Create opportunities for students to explore the natural world through on-site experiences such as:
-Spring and Fall Overnight and Day Long Outdoor Camps for schools and groups that focus on wildlife conservation.
-WildeCamp ‘“ week long residential wildlife summer camps.
-Guided Tours through free range pastures of endangered wildlife from Africa, Asia and North America.
-Hands On and Hearts On activities to stimulate interest to learn and to change attitudes and commitment
-Wildlife Capture and Marking ‘“ medium & small mammals, turtles, fish
-Habitat Assessment ‘“ field measurements of indicator species habitats
-Hands on the Land ‘“ restoration ecology practicum ‘“ prairie planting, invasive tree removal, research plot management
-Wildlife Habitat Enhancement Projects
-Wildlife Surveys and Reintroductions on Reclaimed Landscapes
-Trail Construction and Maintenance

Worthington City Schools
Contact: Rob Smith
Our goal for Wellness 4 Life in Worthington City Schools is to prepare students to live healthy, productive, and physically active lives for the 21st century.
We are excited to be part of your organization, and to find more ways to implement healthy lifetime activities for our students.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Contact: Melanie Cota, Fish and Wildlife Biologist

Our mission is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ohio Field Office has an outreach or education program for every need! Based on availability, we are willing to present programs on natural resource-related topics for most groups or organizations. We often work with schools (pre-school through university), government agencies, non-profit organizations, park districts, and professional organizations. We speak on a variety of topics, including threatened and endangered species, habitat, streams and wetlands, invasive species, and Ohio wildlife. Generally our presentations can include videos, slide presentations, hands-on activities, games, hand-outs, and “touchable” wildlife artifacts.

MAD Scientist Associates, LLC
Contact: Mary Skapof
253 North State Street Suite 101 Westerville, Ohio 43081
(614) 818-9156
Since its start in 1998, MAD has striven to keep education an integral part of our business. Our goal is to promote ecological and environmental literacy by providing educators and students with relevant, firsthand experiences in applied ecology. This comes in the form of summer camp activities, after-school programs, community workshops, teacher training, curriculum development, or site planning. We work with students of all ages. If desired, we can tailor activities to meet Ohio and national academic standards.
Our educational services include:
Ecological Site Characterization
Site Planning
Curriculum Development
Professional Development
Camp Programs
Classroom and After-School Presentations
STEM Programming

Q: Why is it important to sing the LNCI song?
Alice (5): So that your parents know not to
leave you inside when they are outside.
Caroline (5): If you pick something off a tree,
Miss Morgan will be really sad.
Fate (4): There are lots of animals outside and
You can go around the world.