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Environmental Science Educators Workshop

The Environmental Science Educator Workshop

Welcome to Hocking College! 

We're excited to invite high school and career center teachers from around the state to our campus for this exciting new experience perfect for educators in natural resources, environmental science, agriculture and conservation, to name a few.

Walk away with CEUs, lesson plans, pedagogy and some new friends.

Space for this workshop is limited; register online to reserve your spot now!

Hocking College is working diligently to respond safely to the COVID-19 pandemic. All visitors are required to complete a contactless temperature check and wear a mask on our campus. For more information about the college's response plan, click here

About the Workshop

Welcome to the first Professional Development Workshop for Teachers in Natural Resources and the Environmental Sciences! We are very excited to offer this opportunity for educators around the state of Ohio who seek to use the natural environment as a classroom for students.

The workshop is divided into several sessions across two days. The objective of this workshop is to share resources for teaching a range of environmental topics. Attendees will be introduced to several natural resource-based fields and will participate in targeted lessons related to each of these fields. We'll provide lesson plans for all the instruction you receive.

The workshop will include break-out sessions where attendees can share success stories from their own classrooms. At the conclusion of the workshop, attendees will earn 1.5 CEUs for their participation.

Teacher training is the workshop's goal, with specific attention to training in different natural resources and environmental science fields. You will be asked to participate in structured learning opportunities as if you were a student in a class learning about environmental topics. Our emphasis will be on in-the-field education, though in this case, “the field” may be as small as a single tree or wetland. It is not site-dependent on the Hocking College campus. You'll be able to easily take what you learn during the workshop back to your classroom.

Our Keynote Speaker


Mary Mertz was appointed director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources by Gov. Mike DeWine in January 2019.

As director of ODNR, Mertz leads and oversees 11 divisions that manage Ohio’s state parks, preserves, and forests; analyze and report on geologic and water resources; protect and improve the Lake Erie coastline; conserve and manage Ohio’s fish and wildlife; and regulate oil, gas, and mining industries.  

Mertz has been instrumental in advancing Gov. DeWine’s initiatives in the H2Ohio water quality program by launching an ambitious effort to restore and create wetlands in key locations across the state, focusing on the  Lake Erie watershed. She has also led efforts to conserve and protect important land areas for recreational opportunities and the preservation of rare species. 

A lawyer with experience in the public and private sectors, Mertz served as First Assistant Attorney General during the governor's entire tenure as Ohio attorney general. She has served in many other government posts. Mertz earned her undergraduate degree at American University, a master’s degree at George Washington University and her Juris Doctorate at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.  In her free time, she enjoys sailing, hiking and exploring Ohio’s great outdoors.

Corporate Sponsor


For questions about the Natural Resources Educator workshop, please contact School of Natural Resources of Office Manager Debbie Arnold at 740-753-6304 or arnoldd26378@hocking.edu.

Image lacing up boots. Click here to get registered for this workshop.


A generous donation from our corporate sponsor, Nelsonville, Ohio-based Rocky Brands, has allowed us to significantly reduce the cost of registration.

$250 Workshop Fee includes:

  • Instruction
  • All meals
  • Within-Workshop Transportation
  • Entertainment
  • Lesson Plans
  • CEUs

Lodging Fees:

    1. The Lodge Hotel - Standard @ $114.75 or Loft @ $153.00 per night.
    2. RV/Campsite - $33.00 per night.

For questions about the Natural Resources Educator workshop, please contact School of Natural Resources of Office Manager Debbie Arnold at 740-753-6304 or arnoldd26378@hocking.edu.

Hocking College Lodging

Amenities / Access to Facilities included on the Hocking College campus. Benefits of staying on campus.

The Lodge at Hocking College

Standard @ $114.75 or Loft @ $153.00

Full Hook-Up Campsites



Check out some local favorites while you're in town!

Rocky Boots

RockyBrandsLogoShoe manufacturing and the Rocky Boots brand have been Nelsonville mainstays for nearly 90 years. In 1932, the Brooks Brothers began manufacturing shoes out of the Canal Street building. This building now houses the Rocky Boots store carrying many types of footwear, clothing, housewares and outdoor equipment. As our corporate sponsor for this workshop, Rocky Boots welcomes all attendees with coupons for in-store shopping during your visit to Nelsonville.


Rhapsody Music and Dining

RhapsodyLogo_sm copy-1Rhapsody is a casual fine dining restaurant located on the beautiful Public Square in downtown Nelsonville. Rhapsody is easy to get to and is centered in the city’s arts district. When you have a meal at Rhapsody, you not only get to enjoy our cutting-edge American Cuisine featuring seasonal offerings in a relaxed atmosphere, you educate our students. Under the watchful eye of professional chefs and managers, students from Hocking College’s Culinary Arts, Baking, and Hotel and Restaurant Management programs use the restaurant to hone the skills they’ll need in their professional careers.

Make a Reservation


Lake Snowden Campground

Lake Snowden is a 675-acre education and recreation park featuring the largest of four lakes, which form the Margaret Creek Conservancy District. The lake covers approximately 136-acres. The park offers camping, boating, fishing, picnicking and swimming. The serene setting reveals natural beauty while maintaining the convenience of being just 5 miles from Athens, Ohio. The shelter houses, restroom facilities, beach, shoreline fishing holes, and fish hatchery make Lake Snowden a full-featured recreation park. Lake Snowden was built for the Margaret Creek Conservancy District in 1968 with federal funds through the Farmer’s Home Administration and the Soil Conservation Service to control flooding. It opened to the public in 1972. In 1998, Hocking College purchased Lake Snowden from Le-Ax Water District.

For questions about the Natural Resources Educator workshop, please contact School of Natural Resources of Office Manager Debbie Arnold at 740-753-6304 or arnoldd26378@hocking.edu.

Our Focus

Field-based education has been a core component of natural resources and environmental science areas for decades. We are blessed in Ohio to have a tremendous range of outdoor opportunities for our classrooms. From the Appalachian foothills in the southeastern part of the state to the rich farmlands and fields in western Ohio and the unique natural areas in and around Lake Erie — bringing students outdoors to learn in these environments is a special opportunity.


Workshop Schedule

Monday, June 21, 2021  



4–6 p.m.

Check-in and Registration (The Lodge)

6–8 p.m.

Dinner w/Keynote Speaker: Director Mary Mertz, Ohio DNR  (The Lodge)

8:00 p.m.–??

Drinks and Music at The Lodge

  Tuesday, June 22, 2021 


Schedule A

Schedule B

7:30–8 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

8– 9:30 a.m.

Forestry I

Wildlife I

9:30–10 a.m.


10–11:30 a.m.

Wildlife II

Forestry I

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Working Lunch

12:30–1 p.m.

Transportation to Lake Snowden

1–2:30 p.m.

Fisheries and Aquaculture

NR Law Enforcement

2:30–3 p.m.


3–4:30 p.m.

NR Law Enforcement

Fisheries and Aquaculture

4:30–5:00 p.m.

Transportation back from Lake Snowden

5–6 p.m.

Rocky Boots Sponsorship Field Trip

6–8 p.m.

Dinner w/Break-out Sessions (Robbins Crossing)

8 p.m. ??

Evening Entertainment

 Wednesday, June 23, 2021 


Schedule A

Schedule B

8–9:30 a.m.

Wildlife I

Forestry II

9:30–100 a.m.


10–11:30 a.m.

Forestry II

Wildlife II

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Working Lunch

12:30–1 p.m.


1–3:30 p.m.

Farm/Perry Campus – Agroecology

Eco Facility – Ecotourism

3:30–4 p.m.

Transportation Back to Campus

4–4:30 p.m.

Distribution and Synthesis of Lesson Plans

4:30–5 p.m.

Closing Remarks/CEUs


Detailed Program Description

Forestry I: Tree Identification — A Focus on Features

In this session, we will direct our attention to learning several specific native tree species.
We’ll also develop strategies for teaching tree identification with particular attention devoted to learning particular parts of a tree and how building a tree-based vocabulary can facilitate this learning. “Does anyone know what a peduncle is?” (Besides a word that is fun to say!)


Forestry II: Measurements and Valuation — How much is that Dogwood in the Window?

Using some rather simple tools, we’ll learn how to take some basic tree measurements. When combined with current lumber prices for different species, these measurements will let us evaluate different options for forest management. Who knew math, economics, and forestry could be so much fun!


Wildlife I: Birding on Bikes

Can you use binoculars and identify birds while bicycling? You will find out in this class — Birding on Bikes. Learn to identify 25 of Ohio’s breeding birds by sound and sight. You'll also acquire a working knowledge of their anatomical characteristics, mating and nesting habits, general behavioral patterns, and habitat requirements.


Wildlife II: Telemetry and Tracking — Population Estimates

We will learn about the major components of wildlife radiotelemetry equipment and how to use the equipment to retrieve hidden transmitters. This technology is critical to understanding population dynamics. The program will also include applied exercises in estimating population numbers.


Ecotourism: Managing a Successful and Memorable Outdoor Classroom

Teaching outdoors is different, from the resources at our disposal to our expectations of the students. As educators, when we engage in classroom management, some of the rules we apply indoors don't translate outside. So how do we provide productive engagement in the outdoor classroom?  And more, how do we leverage unique opportunities for growth and learning with the natural world as our classroom?  In this session, Jen Johnson will lead a hike in the scenic Hocking Hills, where she will present her methods for engagement and group-cohesion through leadership, support of group dynamics, expedition behavior expectations, and team building, along with a few useful wilderness skills.


Natural Resources Law Enforcement: Catching a Poacher — Crime Scene Analysis

Forensics and natural inquiry will guide this session. Students will encounter a suspected scene of a crime. Skills in how to analyze a scene as well as how to conduct an investigation will be explored. Blood trails, ballistics, and criminal behavior — sometimes the natural world presents us with problems to solve.


Agroecology I & II: Farming Carbon—Soil Health for Food and the Planet

In this workshop, we will talk about how plants pull CO2 out of the air via photosynthesis and how this then sequesters carbon in the soil. We will also discuss how this soil carbon increases water absorption, feeds microbial life and boosts the fertility and health of the soil, as well as the types of farming that boost soil carbon the most. 


Grazing Methods for Pasture Health

We will talk about rotational grazing, how ruminants can be used as pasture improvement partners, and how to make decisions on when and where to move your animals. We will also go over the ways rotational and mob grazing help sequester carbon in the soil.


Fish Management and Aquaculture: Life Cycle and Ages — What do Trees and Fish have in common?

Now that you’ve learned the math behind forest management, fish management is not all that different, except fish are a lot harder to find than trees, and they move around, so you can’t see and count every fish! In this lesson, you’ll learn how fisheries managers do their work. Aside from actual numbers of fish by species, the age-structure of said fish is the most informative metric when describing population dynamics and trends. In this lesson plan, we’ll learn different ways to approximate fish age and conclude with an interpretation of example data and how it relates to fish management throughout the world. “Does anyone know what an otolith is?” You will after this lesson!



Mr. James Downs, Faculty of Forestry at Hocking College. Professor Downs has taught a variety of forest management courses since joining the college in 2008. He earned a Master of Science from the Ohio State University, where he studied the effects of Shelterwood Harvesting on Oak Regeneration. His Bachelor of Science from the Ohio State University was in Forest Ecosystem Science and Management. He started his forestry education at Hocking College, where he received an associate degree in Forest Management. Downs has been a member of the Society of American Foresters for more than 15 years and is a certified Tree Farm Inspector and tree farm owner. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time outside: hunting, fishing, or hiking and enjoys traveling with family to national parks.

Dr. James Harding, Program Manager for Forestry at Hocking College. Professor Harding first fell in love with the field of forestry when taking a lobster-motivated vacation to the state of Maine 29 years ago. Since then, Dr. Harding has studied and practiced forestry in Maine, Montana, Kentucky and Vermont before settling into the richly abundant Central Hardwoods region of southeast Ohio in 2019. Forest ecology is Professor Harding’s primary field of interest, though he does also find warm comfort in teaching math and doing crossword puzzles.

Mr. Lynn Holtzman, Program Manager for Wildlife Resources Management at Hocking College. The author grew up in central Ohio, attended what was then Hocking Technical College for Recreation and Wildlife in 1976-77, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Wright State University in 2006, and a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Ohio University in 2009. After 29 years working as a wildlife biologist, he retired from the ODNR, Division of Wildlife, in 2006. He currently is the Wildlife Resources Program Manager and teaches ornithology, environmental ethics and law, and wetland ecology and management at Hocking College. He is an avid birder, bicyclist, bird carver, and pursuant of Tenkara fly fishing. Lynn lives with his wife Brenda in Southeastern Ohio's hill country, where they sit on the deck, enjoy a cup of coffee, and listen to the summer vespers of the wood thrush.

Ms. Jennifer Johnson, Program Manager for Ecotourism and Adventure Leadership at Hocking College. Professor Johnson serves as the Ecotourism and Adventure Leadership Program Manager at Hocking College and teaches many of the technical recreation courses, including Adventure Leadership, Wilderness Skills and Equipment, Rappelling and Vertical Rope Rescue, and Wilderness Survival Techniques. She is a graduate of Hocking College’s Ecotourism program and received her Bachelor of Arts. in Adventure Education from Prescott College. She’s worked as an outdoor professional in many capacities in academia, in the non-profit sector and as a national service member. In her free time, she likes to do a lot of the same things she does at work: camping, hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, paddling, SCUBA diving, and traveling whenever she can.

Mr. Paul McConnell, Faculty of Natural Resources Law Enforcement at Hocking College. Mr. McConnell grew up in Nelsonville, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology. He served in the United States Army, which landed him in Fairbanks, Alaska. He spent 22 years with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers retiring on January 1, 2019.  He is currently one of the instructors at Hocking College in the Natural Resource Law Enforcement Program, where he is responsible for convincing college students it really is fun to run three miles a day.

Mr. Grant Scholten, Program Manager for Fish Management and Aquaculture at Hocking College. Professor Scholten became intrigued with the notion of growth and harvest growing up on a small farm in Iowa. Fascinated by oceans, rivers and lakes, he began his academic endeavor to understand these same concepts throughout these aquatic environments in nearly every type of ecosystem east of the Mississippi River. After conducting research in Iowa, Tennessee, Florida and New York, he became captivated by the diversity of Ohio’s lakes and streams. Once he heard the Fisheries Program at Hocking College had its own lake and fish hatchery at the forefront of their educational platform, the deal was sealed! He felt this unique program and the rich diversity of Southern Ohio presented an advantageous platform to prepare young scientists for careers throughout the United States.

Ms. Sasha Sigetic, Program Manager for Agroecology at Hocking College. Ms. Sigetic has been a small farmer and farm manager for more than a decade. She raises dairy and meat goats, chickens and Great Pyrenees dogs at her farm in Meigs county. Along with her land mates, she is building an intentional community based on permaculture principles. Sasha also has a background in fine arts and fiber arts, and enjoys throwing pottery and spinning and knitting, especially in the winter months when there are fewer outdoor farming chores to do. She has been the program manager of Agroecology at Hocking College since June 2019 and is also currently working on her Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems at Prescott College.

Dr. David Swanson, Faculty of Wildlife Resources Management at Hocking College. Dave Swanson is a wildlife resources management instructor. Dr. Swanson has more than 20 years of radiotelemetry experience. He has worked on great-tailed grackle, northern bobwhite quail, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, worm-eating warbler, ovenbird, northern copperhead and Indiana bat radiotelemetry projects. Most of Dr. Swanson’s classes involve some type of wildlife tracking, even if that wildlife includes Hocking College students.

For questions about the Natural Resources Educator workshop, please contact School of Natural Resources of Office Manager Debbie Arnold at 740-753-6304 or arnoldd26378@hocking.edu.

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