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Core Goal 4: Enhance Outreach and Education

OSM/VISTAs reach out to community members by creating and distributing press releases, developing educational materials, planning local celebrations, creating outdoor classrooms and coordinating educational tours.

OSM/VISTAs Partner with Scout Groups

OSM/VISTA Megan Baskerville successfully built a sustainable partnership between the Evergreen Conservancy and the local Girl Scouts organization that plans and promotes Girl Scouts events in the three-county area around Indiana, PA. Evergreen will now offer four programs (two in the fall, two in the spring) around wetland education at the Tanoma AMD Wetlands to all ages of Girl Scouts.

These programs will be featured in the Girl Scout Program Brochure that gets sent to over 100 Scout families. This partnership has great potential to reach a wide audience of people and to inform them of the Tanoma AMD Wetlands.

OSM/VISTA Andrea Rocchio, OSM/VISTA with the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable (UTRR) in Abingdon, VA, is also working with Girl Scout troops in her area. In March, Rocchio gave a presentation called "Who Polluted the River" to a Girl Scout troop about to embark on a cleanup venture for the Great American Cleanup in Abingdon, VA.

Amanda Duncan, UTRR board member, Andrea Rocchio, OSM/VISTA, and Keith Janovec, local volunteer celebrate a successful cleanup in Cedar Bluff. Five bags of recycling and four bags of trash were collected in only a few hours.

Rocchio is also coordinating scout troops for the Great American Cleanup scout badge competition. Working with Riverworks, the Upper Tennessee River Roundtable is organizing 80+ scouts with ages between 6 to 18-years-old. The cleanup will conclude May 31st. Rocchio has taken the reins of a canoe project from former OSM/VISTA Josh Larsen. Canoe trips with UTRR are a staple in Southwest Virginia, and the organization received a grant to provide canoe trips to high school students and youth organizations.

According to Rocchio, the trips are a great venue to provide participants with information about the area, "Not everyone wants to be berated with information and education in traditional ways—but if they are outside, in the sun and laughing and having a great time, they will be more inclined to want to learn more about the area — our history and natural history."

Fourth Graders Enjoy Environmental Day

OSM/VISTA Bernetta Marchand with Friends of the Russel Fork in Haysi, VA, was a major player in the organization of Sandlick Environmental Day. This event brought together professionals from, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, VA Dept. of Forestry, and County Litter Control to demonstrate environmental and conservation concepts from the Virginia Standards of Learning.

Topics covered included Facts on Bats, Learning about Soil, Water Pollution, Enviroscape demonstration, Learning about Invasive Species, Litter Control, and a talk from the Mushroom Man. Teachers claimed it was refreshing to hear commons bat myths debunked.

Seventy fourth graders from Sandlick Elementary School were a part of this educational experience. They even left with goodie bags filled with additional educational materials.

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