Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Youth Leadership Day a Success
Submitted by Liz Bonny, Youth Act VISTA

On Tuesday, Youth Act hosted its fourth annual Youth Leadership Day. Youth Act students from all four schools Youth Act serves gathered at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens for a day of learning, games, and service. Twenty students attended from Alexander Middle School, Federal Hocking Middle School, Trimble Middle School, and Trimble High School. They got to know each other better by participating in team building activities that each Youth Act group designed themselves. The students worked to develop their understanding of what Rural Action does by discussing ways that Rural Action is involved in their communities. The group also participated in a listening session for the Rural Renewal Strategy, similar to the house parties we have been holding around the region. Students participated by brainstorming what kind of projects would be beneficial to their schools and neighborhoods.

They discussed service learning scenarios and learned about Rural Action with the help of a photograph puzzle. Students received and decorated a t-shirt with logos that each of the Youth Act groups had designed on the back. Each Youth Act group has completed a service learning project this year, but at Youth Leadership Day, they participated in a common service learning project. They made dolls for Columbus Children’s Hospital. The dolls will be given to children for medical explanation and play. Adults were present to supervise, including Liz Bonny (Youth Act VISTA), Mary Steinmaus (Rural Action Interim Executive Director and Director of Community Development), Katy Sulfridge (Media VISTA), Tori Patterson (Development VISTA), Adam Fitch (Environmental Learning Program VISTA), and Matt Presutti (Media VISTA).

Huff Run Awareness Days

Submitted by Maureen Wise, Coordinator of the Huff Run Watershed Restoration Project

The Huff Run Awareness Days were held on May 4 and May 10 this year. Over 200 students visited the watershed between the two days. Three home school groups with about 15 families or classes attended the May 4 event. Nine 7th grade science classes from Bell Herron Middle School participated on May 10. During both days, the students visited four different stations. O EPA personnel showed the students fish found in Huff Run with a fish shocking demonstration. The shocking stuns the fish so they can be caught and they are not harmed. Huff Run staff and volunteers lead students in a macroinvertebrate (aquatic bugs) demonstration where students caught the bugs with kick nets. (Thank you to Sunday Creek for lending your boots!) ODNR and Huff Run staff lead a tour of the Lyons project. Finally, ODNR and Tusc Soil and Water staff held a pH demonstration also at the Lyons project. This was the eighth Awareness Day event planned by the Partnership. Funding for this field trip was paid both by the US EPA Targeted Watershed Grant and by an Ohio EPA 319 grant administered by Crossroads RC&D.

Rural Action VISTA accepts position with the American Red Cross
Submitted by Katy Sulfridge, Rural Action Media VISTA

Dear friends,

I have spent the last five months as one of the media VISTAs with Rural Action. I have had a wonderful time working closely with each of the programs to help promote their events, thus bringing Rural Action’s mission out into the community. I have gained a tremendous amount of experience in the short time that I have been here, and I hope to carry what I have learned with me for the rest of my life.

I have been offered a position as the Emergency Services Director for the Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, based in Parkersburg, WV. As a Washington County resident, this not only enables me to work a little closer to home, but allows me the opportunity to serve my community in times of need. I have been a national disaster services volunteer with the Red Cross since 2005, and I hope to draw from those experiences in the event of a disaster occurring within the Mid-Ohio Valley.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the folks that I have worked closely with, including my fellow teammates with the Rural Action Development and Communications team, as well as anyone that has collaborated with me on some of my projects, including Volunteer Action guests, interviewees for my research, and the local media, which has done a great job in helping us to promote Rural Action.

I plan on staying involved as a volunteer, including the upcoming Retreat for Rural Renewal. I hope to see everyone there.

Thank you,
Katy Sulfridge

Register for the Retreat on Rural Renewal
Submitted by Sara Peach, AmeriCorps*VISTA for Rural Renewal

Register now for the Retreat on Rural Renewal, a community conversation about the future of Appalachian Ohio. It's Saturday, June 16, 2007 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Trimble High School in Glouster, Ohio. The Retreat is free but registration is limited to 150 people, so reserve your place today! The Rural Action Annual Meeting will also take place that day, during a short business lunch.

The easy sign-up sheet is available here.

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