CITIZEN CONTACT: Amber Finkelstein

Ohio EPA Awards $35,029 Environmental Education Grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio Inc.

Ohio EPA has awarded $35,029 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio Inc. for the Camp Oty’Okwa Discovery Center in Hocking County. Seven grants were awarded statewide for $237,091.

The grant provides exhibits and supplies for a regional science education center annually serving more than 10,000 youth, 850 adults and 500 community members in school programs, summer camp and adult education classes. Partners include the Appalachia Ohio Alliance, Crane Hollow State Nature Preserve, Hocking Hills State Park, Rural Action and Wahkeena Nature Preserve.

Exhibits about the seven ecosystems on the site will illustrate how the geology, climate, plant and animal communities in a protected watershed contribute to healthy streams.  Water cycle panels will show how rain gardens and rain barrels at homes and schools can slow storm water runoff to protect water quality in urban watersheds.  A waste-to-food exhibit will feature decomposition, photosynthesis and energy transfer in the nutrient cycle, “botany on a plate” lessons about food served at the facility, and composting and recycling in natural and human systems.  A bird observation area will feature species characteristics and adaptations, as well as scientific study and data collection methods being used in Citizen Science and school programs such as the Cornell Ornithology Lab’s Classroom Feeder Watch.  Test kits and equipment will enable participants to monitor weather conditions; soil, water and air quality; pollen levels and the predominant plants releasing pollen in the area.  Participants will record observations and upload data collected to the camp’s website.

The Ohio Environmental Education Fund is administered by Ohio EPA Eligible grant recipients include environmental groups, public and private schools, colleges and universities, trade or professional organizations, businesses and state and local governments.

For additional information, contact the Ohio Environmental Education Fund at (614) 644-2873.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. In the past 40 years, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling. Ohio EPA….40 years and moving forward.

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