Donor Spotlight

Donor Spotlight

Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary | Generosity rooted in pride, remembrance, dedication to home

Learn more

News & Happenings

2015 AEP Access to Environmental Education Mini-Grant Recipients Announced

Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio Supports Environmental Education for the Region’s Students

Nelsonville, OH – The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is pleased to announce the 2015 AEP Access to Environmental Education Mini-Grant award recipients. This year, 19 grant awards were made totaling over $25,000 for environmental education projects across Appalachian Ohio.

The AEP Access to Environmental Education Fund supports projects encouraging youth participation in learning experiences linked to local natural resources that share the lessons learned with their communities. Educators and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations alike are eligible to apply.

“This year’s Mini-Grants will support a variety of projects that demonstrate the creativity and dedication of our region’s educators, nonprofits, and youth to environmental education and stewardship,” said Cara Dingus Brook, president and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio. “AEP’s partnership has been instrumental to developing the opportunities for environmental education for youth across our region, and we are most appreciative.”

This year’s grant recipients include:

GoodWorks, Inc. in Athens County received a $1,500 award to support the Teen Agricultural Internship. Up to eight teenagers will be able to participate in a seven-week long internship working alongside GoodWorks staff and summer interns as they start and maintain up to 20 gardens throughout Athens County for local residents.

Morrison-Gordon Elementary School, part of the Athens City School District in Athens County, received a $1,000 grant. This award will be used to create Land Lab Inquiry Boxes which will facilitate the use of the school’s outdoor learning space by creating a tool that teachers can use with their classes.

Camp Oty’Okwa received a $1,500 award to support the Appalachian Insect Explorers program. Serving students in Athens, Hocking, and Perry counties, the program will bring insect specimen, a bee colony observation station, and educational programming to area schools.

The Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District in Belmont County received nearly $1,500 to implement Conservation Field Days. This eight-week day camp for 17 Belmont County youth will expose participants to natural resource conservation topics through hands-on experiences.

Camp Prescott was awarded $1,200 to support an outdoor education and team building day for students aged six to eighteen. Youth participants from Belmont, Guernsey, Harrison, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Tuscarawas, and Washington counties will learn about edible and medicinal plants, team building, and gardening.

Malvern High School in Carroll County received $1,500 to fund a robotics project to teach students about programming, engineering, and problem solving. Students will learn to program the robots to perform certain action and navigate a course simulating a natural disaster.

The macro-invertebrate stream sampling program sponsored by the Columbiana Soil and Water Conservation District in Columbiana County received a $1,450 grant award. Students are able to collect, sort, and learn about the different creatures living in the stream bed through this program.

A $1,500 grant award to the East Liverpool City Heath District’s Youth Environmental Summer Camp in Columbiana County will allow third through eighth grade students to engage in fun, outdoor environmental education activities. Participants will learn about the environment from local community members who work as farmers, master gardeners, city planners, naturalists, nutritionists, conservationists, and others whose work relates to the natural environment.

Camp Fire Tayanoka in Columbiana County received $550 for its Traveling Suitcase environmental education program. The program provides educational programming to students and schools throughout Columbiana County.

Austintown Fitch High School, part of the Austintown Local School District in Mahoning County, received a $1,500 grant award to add birdhouses to attract native bird species to the wetlands area on campus.

Meigs Local After School Kids (ASK) received a $1,500 award to launch a Literacy Garden project.  This program, reaching students in Meigs County, is geared toward closing the literacy achievement gap by encouraging students to read and explore the outdoor environment, culminating in a family literacy night that will allow families to participate in reading games while enjoying the garden with their children.

Zane State College in Muskingum County was awarded a $1,500 grant to launch an outreach program testing drinking water quality for local residents. College students and selected high school students will work together to test water quality and promote awareness of drinking water protection. Information will be shared with the community at a Water Quality Festival held in conjunction with Zanesville’s Earth Day celebration.

Noble Local School District in Noble County received a $500 grant award for the Bring on the Wilds program sponsored by The Wilds. The Wilds will visit seventh and eighth grade science students, bringing animals and educational programming to students for a hands-on learning experience.

Waverly Junior High School in Pike County received over $1,500 to purchase microscopes and other materials for students to study local pond life at the microscopic level.

Students in the Advanced Earth Science Techniques course at Pickaway Ross Career & Technology Center in Ross County will conclude their course with field visits to space science and earth history educational sites, thanks to a $1,500 grant award.

Huntington High School, part of the Huntington Local School District in Ross County, received a $1,500 grant award to support a service-learning project to develop a land lab near the school. Led by the Huntington High School Science Club, the land lab will serve as a resource for K-12 students and teachers to explore animal habitats and ecology.

New Philadelphia City School District in Tuscarawas County received nearly $1,500 for fifth grade students to study ecosystems and the effects outside influences can have on their delicate balance. Students will study the effects of mining on aquatic invertebrates through hands-on activities. Students will collect samples, identify species, and evaluate their findings.

Sixth grade students at Newcomerstown Middle School in the Newcomerstown Local School District in Tuscarawas County will visit the rainforest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo thanks to a $1,500 grant award. This visit will enhance their classroom instructional unit centered on the rainforest ecosystem.

The Ely Chapman Education Foundation received over $1,300 to expand STEM-related learning tools available to its after-school program. Students in Meigs, Noble, and Washington counties will explore solar, wind, and water energy and how to observe these forms of energy in their everyday lives.

The AEP Access to Environmental Education Mini-Grant application opens annually each fall. To learn more about past grant recipients or to sign up for the Foundation’s e-newsletter to receive notifications when this and other grant opportunities are available, please visit

The Foundation’s mission is to create opportunities for Appalachian Ohioans by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. FAO supports communities across five areas essential to community and regional quality of life. Called the Pillars of Prosperity, these areas include arts and culture, community and economic development, education, health and human services, and environmental stewardship. Through funds and grants like the AEP Access to Environmental Education Mini-Grant program, the Foundation encourages environmental stewardship and pride in our region’s natural assets. For more information, please contact FAO at 740.753.1111.

About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Foundation creates opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information about FAO, visit