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1404 Goodale Boulevard, Suite 100
Columbus, OH 43212
Phone: (614) 486-9613
Fax: (614) 486-9614

Educators and Youth Leaders

New Programs for the 2017/2018 School Year!

For more information and a complete listing of our education program offerings see our updated brochure.

2017 Envirothon Sponsors Needed

Franklin Soil and Water is looking for corporate or individual team sponsors to help pay the registration fees and to assist with transportation for the local schools competing in this years Ohio Envirothon. While not required, sponsors may also assist the team with educational training to help them in the current topic. We currently have 3 different levels of sponsorship to help the teams in different ways! If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, you can sign up online or you can find out more information through sponsorship flyer.

The environmental focus for the 2017 Envirothon competition is “Agriculture Soil and Water Conservation Stewardship” and will be held on Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at Scioto Grove Metro Park right here in Franklin County. If you can assist the teams in any way, please contact Linda Pettit, Environmental Education Specialist, for sponsorship opportunities either by email or phone (614) 486-9613, ext. 115.

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: February 24th, 2017

2017 Conservation Poster Contest is here!

It is time to register for the 2017 Conservation Poster Contest!

The Conservation Poster Contest is an annual event sponsored by Soil and Water Conservation Districts nationwide. The purpose of the contest is to provide young people with an avenue to gain a better appreciation for our environment and share this caring sentiment through artwork.

The 2017 Poster Contest Theme is: “Healthy Soils Are Full of Life!” which focuses on the knowledge that productive soils are the foundation of any healthy ecosystem.

You can now register your class or youth group to participate in the Franklin County contest online through Eventbrite! Or you may contact Linda Pettit, our Environmental Education Specialist, at (614) 486-9613 or through email with any questions.

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: December 22nd, 2016

2017 Envirothon Save-the-Date!

Each year, Franklin Soil and Water assists local schools with the Area Envirothon competition. The Envirothon is a hands-on, outdoor team competition for high school students. Teams answer questions about aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and wildlife. This year, the event will be held in Franklin County at Scioto Grove Metro Park. To register, please email Linda Pettit, our Environmental Education Specialist, at or by calling (614) 486-9613. For additional and complete information, download a PDF of the 2017 Envirothon Save-the-Date.

A team consists of five students, all from the same high school. An adult advisor(s) must accompany the team, but is not permitted to assist the team during the competition. Team registration is $50 and will include t-shirts for each team member and coach. Teams must register by Monday, April 3, 2017.

Five “Area Envirothons” are conducted around Ohio late each spring. The top four teams from each of these Area competitions progress to the Ohio Envirothon in June. The state level Ohio Envirothon is held in a different part of Ohio each year. Our “Area Envirothon” will take place Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at Scioto Grove Metro Park.

In Ohio, the Envirothon is sponsored by the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Natural resource and environmental specialists from many agencies, organizations, colleges, universities, park districts and businesses devise the Envirothon questions and staff the various test stations.

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: December 22nd, 2016

2017 Winter Education Workshops

With the proliferation of environmentally focused sites on the Internet, it is difficult for a busy educator to find current, accurate and unbiased information on natural resources issues. Our environmental education team wants to help. Join naturalists, environmental educators, teachers and homeschooling parents as we explore the value and vulnerability of our natural resources through a series of interactive workshops.

PLEASE NOTE: The workshop scheduled for this Saturday, December 10, has been RESCHEDULED to January 7!

Visit our Environmental Education Eventbrite Registration page to easily register for a workshop online!

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: December 7th, 2016

2016 Poster Contest and Envirothon Review

The Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual conservation poster contest has come to a close for another year! This year, 12 schools with over 1,000 students participated from grades K-12. This year’s theme was “We All Need Trees” focusing on the importance and environmental benefits of trees. To further the conservation message, students were asked again this year to draw their posters on 8 ½” x 11” paper that had been previously used on one side. Winning students were recognized at an awards ceremony in the Education Building Auditorium at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Saturday, April 30th at 10:00 am

The 2016 Area 5 Envirothon was held at Camp Oyo in Scioto County on Tuesday, April 26th. Students from Bexley, Dublin Coffman, Hilliard Bradley and New Albany High Schools participated in this event with students from 16 other counties in Central and Southern Ohio. The Hilliard Bradley Enviro Mentally Strong team tied for 5th place and all Franklin County schools had a team place in the top 16 out of the 59 teams competing. Congratulations!

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: May 5th, 2016

Presentations and Loan Kits Available to Youth Educators and Leaders

Whether you are interested in a presentation, or simply borrowing materials for environmental education and science curriculum, Franklin Soil and Water provides both.

Teachers and youth leaders for school classes, home school, after school, scout and 4-H groups are all able to take part in this great opportunity!

All of our programs have been correlated with the State Science Content Standard Grade Level Indicators for Earth and Space Sciences and for Life Sciences. The topics include:
  • Ecosystems
  • Biodiversity and Adaptations
  • Natural Resources
  • Conservation
  • Human Impact on the Environment
The specific grade level correlation to State Standards are listed below.


Journey Through the Soil

A realistically painted canvas mural tells the story of soil below the surface. This “soil tunnel” depicts soil layers and plant roots. The program includes soil ingredients, textures, properties and importance. A new backdrop includes a rain garden and pervious pavement.

Earth and Space Sciences: preK, 3, 4, 6, 8
Life Sciences: 1, 2, 4, 5

The Sliding Soil

The concept of erosion is demonstrated with the soil erosion simulator. Students predict and compare the effects of rain falling on bare soil, mulched soil and grass. Soil erosion, water quality and landscape alterations are discussed. The differences between permeable and impermeable surfaces can also be addressed.

Earth and Space Sciences: 3, 4, 8
Life Sciences: 2, 4
H.S. Environmental Science

Discovering Soil is Alive

A discussion of soil as a habitat and its macro-invertebrate inhabitants is followed by the opportunity for students to investigate soil samples for these critters. With younger students we compare their findings with those in the book, Under One Rock: Bugs, Slugs and Other Ughs by Anthony D. Fredericks.

Life Sciences: preK – 3, 5, 7

Exploring Soil

Through hands-on experiments students experience the weathering of rocks into soil and differences in soil textures. The composition, layers and importance of soil are also explored.

Earth and Space Sciences: preK, 3, 4, 6, 8


Creek Critter Clues

Students participate in a field trip to investigate what animals live in our local streams. Water quality can be determined from the biodiversity that is discovered. A Power Point presentation of the macro-invertebrates is also available.

Life Sciences: 3, 5, 7


An indoor presentation of a stream habitat using the “dry stream” model. Students discuss the characteristics, adaptations and pollution tolerance of local stream animals.

Earth and Space Sciences: preK
Life Sciences: preK, K, 1, 3, 4, 5, 7

Crawdad Creek by Scott Russell Sanders

Students sit around the “dry stream” as they listen to the story Crawdad Creek. They each have an item to add to the stream as the story unfolds. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the importance of clean water for each of the animals.

Earth and Space Sciences: preK, 3
Life Sciences: preK, K, 1, 3, 4, 5


What’s in Our Water

The concepts of water pollution, watershed and human impact on the environment are visually demonstrated through the EnviroScape model. Students witness the water quality changes when rain and land pollutants mix. The differences between non-point and point sources of pollution are also addressed.

Earth and Space Sciences: preK, 3, 4
Life Sciences: 1, 2, 4, 7
H.S. Environmental Science

Francis the Fish

Students witness the sources of different pollutants of our local streams through the tale of Francis the Fish. Students add pollutants to the water as the story of Francis’s travels unfolds. The program concludes with a discussion of ways to prevent these types of pollutants.

Earth and Space Sciences: preK, 3, 4
Life Sciences: 1, 2, 4, 7


The Murky Water Caper by Deborah Rodney Pex

Students become the characters and follow the parts for this Readers’ Theater performance of a hard-boiled detective and the animals that come to her for help when their river becomes polluted. The presentation concludes with a discussion about the different types of pollution discovered and the sources of these pollutants. Important topics include human impact on the environment, storm drains and watersheds.

Life Sciences: 4, 5, 7
H.S. Environmental Science

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Students sit in a felt backdrop setting of the book The Lorax. They participate by adding the characters to this backdrop, and they witness the habitat changes as the story unfolds. The presentation concludes with a discussion of the choices and consequences in the story. Students are reminded that making wise choices will help protect our local environment.

Earth and Space Sciences: preK, 3
Life Sciences: K – 5, 7
H.S. Environmental Science

Dandelion Adventures by Patricia Kite

This story follows seven dandelion seeds as they float and land in different habitats. Students participate by adding to the scenery as the story unfolds. The life cycle of plants, function of different plant parts, plant needs for survival and the importance of landscaping with native plants are discussed through this presentation.

Life Sciences: preK – 5, 7

The Empty Lot by Dale Fife

Students sit in the setting of the barren landscape that the owner, Harry Hale, believes is an empty lot. Students participate by adding the animals that Harry encounters as he explores the land. It is soon obvious that this lot is not empty, but a very important home for many animals. The presentation concludes with a discussion of how our yards can also be homes for many animals.

Life Sciences: K – 5

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: February 5th, 2016

The Winter SWIFT Newsletter is Now Available

In case you missed it, the winter SWIFT (Soil and Water Information for Teachers) Newsletter is now available. This newsletter focuses on area opportunities for both formal and informal educators in central Ohio. If you are interested in receiving a copy via e-mail, please contact Linda Pettit, our Environmental Education Specialist, at or by calling (614) 486-9613. SWIFT goes out 3 times a year.

The Winter 2016 edition includes information on:
  • 2016 Conservation Poster Contest
  • Franklin Soil and Water Plant and Tree Sale
  • Fun Projects and Places to Visit
  • Contests to Earn Funding and Free Curriculum
  • Upcoming Events for Educators (Conferences and Workshops)
  • 2016 Envirothon Competition
Feel free to download and print the SWIFT Winter 2016 edition for your records.

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: January 25th, 2016

Congratulations to the 2015 Educators of the Year!

Each year Franklin Soil and Water recognizes an educator that goes above and beyond the call of duty to bring the environmental message to his/her students. We appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication to introduce their students to the value of our natural resources and the importance of becoming responsible citizens of the land.

The Franklin Soil and Water Education Team recognized two Conservation Educators this year. They are both Librarians in Elementary Schools within the Columbus City School District. They were recognized for their effort and dedication to increase the environmental awareness of the students in their buildings by working with the teachers and our education team to provide interactive learning opportunities for a majority of the classes within their buildings. Both librarians initially invited us into their schools to do the The Lorax program for the younger students, but recently we expanded to other programs within the two schools in order to enhance the understanding of the Ohio Science standards in multiple grade levels.

Our 2015 Conservation Educators are:

Katy Bertner of Cranbrook Elementary School

Jenny Carter of West Mound Elementary School.

Thank you to all educators–librarians, school teachers and personnel, and informal education teams for working with Franklin Soil and Water! Without you, conservation science could not be possible for our youth.

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: September 23rd, 2015

2015 Ohio State Envirothon Competition

The 27th Annual Ohio Envirothon took place June 8-9 at Mohican State Park in Perrysville, OH. 20 teams of 5 High School students each, from 17 different counties around the state competed in the environmentally-focused outdoor competition. Each team was tested in four areas: forestry, soils, aquatics, and wildlife. The teams were then judged on an oral presentation regarding this year’s environmental issue: Urban and Community Forestry. The purpose of the Ohio Envirothon is to give high school students experience and knowledge that will prepare them in pursuing future environmental careers.

The team from Bexley High School had placed second in the Area 5 Envirothon Competition, qualifying them for the state competition. The students were thrilled for the opportunity to compete with so many of Ohio’s high school students. The Bexley team represented Franklin County and they competed well. The students hope to compete in years ahead in order to build on the experience they gained from this year’s competition. We’re proud of their enthusiasm and accomplishments!

Thank you to the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Soil and Water Resources for sponsoring this event!

Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: June 11th, 2015

Students Monitor Trends in Water Quality

Stream quality monitoring (SQM or “creeking”) is a great STEM learning activity for students. One of the simplest ways to monitor water quality in local streams is to sample the macroinvertebrate population. By identifying these “critters,” including crayfish, fresh-water clams, riffle beetles, snails, sowbugs, and a whole host of insect larvae and nymphs, and observing which ones are found in greater quantity, students learn to distinguish a healthy stream from an unhealthy stream. They also gain a greater understanding of how human actions can impact the health of our streams.

SQM provides students with the opportunity to engage in citizen science, using the same methods used by Ohio EPA and ODNR to detect and report the quality of local streams. Reporting and comparing their data on the SQM web site, then analyzing the causes for any similarities and differences, promotes the skills of 21st Century Learners. While this data isn’t “credible” for regulatory purposes, the data students collect can be valuable information on trends in water quality, alerting our watershed coordinator to the need for further monitoring.

Sharing that collected data with other groups can also give your students a larger picture of the health of local streams. Franklin Soil and Water has developed a web site to allow teachers to share data their students collect on stream quality monitoring field trips.
  1. Go to our Wix SQM site for background information on SQM and how to collect data.
  2. Use the SQM Detailed Picture Form for ID guides to macroinvertebrates, found under Data Collection\Data Collection Forms.
  3. Use sheet for printing to record your data. After you have collected and recorded your data, download the sheet for uploading data under Data Collection Forms and transfer your data to the Excel file spreadsheet.
  4. There are also instructions under How to Contribute Data on using a smart phone app to electronically record data in the field.
  5. To add your data to the web site, send an e-mail to watershed coordinator Kurt Keljo with your attached data file and include the name of the collection site and your school.
  6. Use the Go to Data Page button on the web site and search for data either by watershed or by organization to view stream data that others have contributed
Program & Services we provide regarding Youth Education

Published: November 10th, 2014