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Programs & Services

Education and outreach are key to teaching present and future generations about our unique resources and why it is important to conserve them.  Licking Soil & Water offers many education opportunities including school- and community-based programs. 

Planting the Future: Free Trees for Students

Thanks to our generous sponsors, Licking Soil & Water offers free seedling trees to elementary and middle schools that serve Licking County students. The free seedling trees program is an opportunity to show students how important trees are to their health, their community, and their environment. Choose from two options:

Option 1: Each student receives a tree to take home. This option is ideal for schools where students have a place at home to plant a tree. Schools receive tree planting guides for each student and educational resources to use in the classroom.

Option 2:  Request trees to plant on school grounds.   This option is perfect for enhancing an outdoor classroom. Students take ownership and responsibility for the trees planted. Schools receive a tree planting guide and educational resources to use in the classroom.

Educators can order trees by Monday, April 6 for pick-up on Monday, April 20th. For more information and to order seedling trees, complete the request form here or contact Michelle Illing at 740-670-5330.

2020 Summer Workshop Series for Educators

  • Project WET & Healthy Water, Healthy People on June 17th.
  • Newark Water Infrastructure Tour on June 24th.
  • Citizen Science Workshop on July 1st.
  • Project Learning Tree on July 8th.
  • Project WILD & Aquatic Project WILD on July 19th.
  • Environmental Education for Early Childhood on July 22nd.

All workshops start at 8:30 am and end by 4 pm. Graduate and Step Up to Quality credits available. Formal and informal educators welcome.  Space is limited; pre-registration is required for all workshops.  Cost: $5/workshop.   

Registration will be availabe April 1st.  Sign up for the electronic newsletter, to receive updates and reminders.  


Conservation Learning Series

DIY Rain Barrel and Rain Garden Workshops

Why plant rain gardens? The news has recently been saturated (pun intended) with water-related headlines about elevated nitrate levels and localized flooding from heavy rainfall and stormwater runoff.  Toxic algae continues to be a problem at Buckeye Lake and around Ohio.  Rain gardens allow rain water to slowly soak into the ground and reduce the amount of polluted stormwater flowing into nearby streams.   

What is a rain barrel? Rain barrels collect and store rain water from rooftops, thereby reducing runoff and flooding during storms. Use rain barrel water to irrigate landscaping and gardens while saving money on water bills..  

At the workshop, view a well-established rain garden; then learn how to design and install a rain garden on your property.  Next, build your own rain barrel so you can start harvesting rain water from your roof.

RSVP required and can be accomplished by clicking on the date below.  The cost is $50 per rain barrel.   Cash or check only for on-site payment.    

Saturday, March 21st at 1 pm at Wilson's Garden Center, Newark

Thursday, June 13th at 6 pm at Infirmary Mound Park, Granville

Tuesday, August 13th at 6 pm at Infirmary Mound Park, Granville



Stream Team

As Licking County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) strives to enhance and protect our natural resources, especially water, we would like to take the first step in gaining community involvement and ownership. As this goal is accomplished, the community will gain a better understanding and respect for water, water quality, and why it is important to become stewards of the land. Our community will also become more aware that they live in a watershed and every day activities by individuals affect the water everyone uses.

Interested in getting involved?  Join the Stream Team!  Soil & Water provides all the supplies; you adopt a stream and share data with our office.  It’s that easy! 

Register by clicking on dates below.

Thursday, June 25, 2020 from 5:30-7:30pm at Taft Reserve South, 10383 Fairview Rd SE, Newark, OH 43055

Thursday, August 20, 2020 from 5:30-7:30pm at Riverview Preserve, 375 Ohio St, Newark, OH 43055

Thursday, September 24, 2020 from 5:30-7:30pm at Lobdell Reserve (Disc Golf Course Area), 5475 Battee Rd, Alexandria, OH 43001  



School-aged Educational Programs and Teacher Resources

Education Programs are offered in the classroom, on your school grounds, or a nearby park. Loaner kit programs to check out for use in your classroom are also available, listed below. For more information, please contact Licking Soil & Water at 740-670-5330.  

Soil-based Programs: 

The soil under our feet plays a major role in where plants grow and animals live. Participate in soil testing and use scientific equipment to discover characteristics of Ohio soils. Compare soil from various places such as stream banks and grassy fields. Consider how soil is made and how we use the soil, rocks and minerals under our feet. All programs can be tailored to fit your age, grade, group, and standards. Choose from the programs below or mix and match programs to fit your needs and time limitations.

  • Soil Soup (20 minutes)

    This activity is great for introducing soil vocabulary words while making Soil Soup. With the help of props, students consider the ingredients needed to make soil. Vocabulary words: sand, silt, clay, percolation, horizon, humus, organic matter, invertebrate, organism, ecosystem, reclamation, restoration, habitat, decomposer.

  • Soil Sampling/Testing (30-60 minutes

    Students learn about the physical properties of soil and answer comparative questions by performing soil investigation tests. Students collect soil samples from various habitats, read and follow soil test directions, and use scientific equipment. Lab option: Soil samples are analyzed for chemical testing for pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium levels.

  • Soil Science/Intro to Soils (30-60 minutes)

    Students learn about the physical properties of soil with a PowerPoint lesson and answer comparative questions by performing soil investigation tests. Optional addition: Students collect soil samples from various habitats, read and follow soil test directions, and use scientific equipment.

Water-based Programs:

Learn about surface water, groundwater, and the quality of water. People depend on stormwater for drinking, watering plants and animals, bathing, cleaning, etc.  Observe how water moves on the surface of the land and through the water cycle. Evaluate and test the health of our waterways.  All programs can be tailored to fit your age, grade, group, and standards. Choose from the programs below or mix and match programs to fit your needs and time limitations.

  • EnviroScape (20 minutes – 1 hour)

    Using a hands-on watershed model, students learn about sources of non-point and point source pollution, and explore water pollution prevention through visual interaction. The EnviroScape helps students make connections between what we do on Earth and the impact on the environment throughout several types of landscapes. Vocabulary words: watershed, non-point source, point source, pollution, runoff, stormwater, best management practices, sediment, nutrient, organic, toxic.

  • Groundwater Model (20 minutes – 45 minutes)

    Simulate groundwater movement using a table-top model. Demonstration includes: pumps to recirculate the water, wells, springs, artesian wells, a lake, an unconfined and a confined aquifer, a malfunctioning septic systems and leaking underground storage tank. Dye injection is used to simulate groundwater pollution and contaminant flow. (Electricity and a water source is required to operate model).

  • Water Quality Testing/Stream Study (30 minutes – 1 hour inside or 1 hour - 2 hours at a stream/river site)

    Modeled after Licking Soil & Water’s Stream Team program; students learn about various types of water pollution, their sources, as well as career paths related to water quality. Participants perform habitat assessments, biological (with macroinvertebrates), chemical, and/or physical water quality tests on surface water. Credible data is recorded and analyzed along with other data collected throughout the county.

Loaner Kit Programs:

Our programs can be borrowed for a week (or two) to fit into your lesson plans by request. We have tote ready kits with supplies, background notes, activities, resources, and more! Choose from any of our classroom soil and water presentations above, or from the list below. *Click on a program to learn more* All programs can be tailored to fit your age, grade, group, and standards. Choose from the programs below or mix and match programs to fit your needs and time limitations.

  • Mineral Puzzle (20 Minutes)

    Use rock samples to guide conversation about how rocks and minerals differ, where are they found, and how do we use them. Warm up with a rock sample matching activity. Next build rocks from minerals using a puzzle. Finally students create a work of art by combining their minerals to make a granite sculpture.

  • Decomposer Tag (20 minutes)

    Students play a freeze tag game where “Death” tries to tag and freeze the “Nutrients” in plants and animals. The “Decomposers” unfreeze the “Nutrients” trapped in dead bodies, allowing them to return to the cycle of life. Many resources provided to learn about the important role decomposers play in the food web.

  • Pollinator Puppets (20 minutes)

    Learn about different types of pollinators like bees and butterflies. Create a finger puppet pollinator using Chenille Stems. Then use your pollinator to travel between flowers collecting pollen along the way. Limited supplies.

  • Butterfly Life Cycle (30 minutes)

    Students learn about the life cycle from an egg to caterpillar to pupa to ultimately a butterfly using a macaroni art inspired metamorphosis. Read a story about the life of a butterfly and use guides to identify pollinators in nature.

  • Life Cycle of a Pumpkin (30 minutes)

    Students create the life cycle of a pumpkin starting from a seed. Variations and extension activities are included.

  • The Incredible Journey (30 minutes)

    From Project WET, students become a drop of water and cycle around the Earth through plants, animals, clouds, and more! Keep track of your travels and write a story about your incredible journey.

  • Stream Table (30 minutes)

    Students create a mini stream using sand and observe how stormwater moves through the sand. This model mainly shows erosion and with variations and lab study resources.

What is the Envirothon?

The ENVIROTHON is a high school competition designed to stimulate, reinforce and enhance interest the environment and natural resources.  Students are tested on their knowledge of soils, forestry, wildlife, aquatic ecology and current environmental issues. In addition, the Envirothon encourages cooperative decision-making and team building. While each student on a team is challenged individually to contribute his or her personal best, the score that counts at the end of the competition is the team score. A team consists of five students, all from the same high school. An adult advisor (or advisors) must accompany the team, but is not permitted to assist the team during the competition.

High School students across the state compete on the local level at one of the five Area Envirothons. The top four teams from each Area Envirothon then go on to compete at the state competition held each year in June for the title of State Envirothon Champion. The winning team will then compete at the national competition, the NCF Envirothon, held annually in July in a different state in North America.

Adult Education Workshops/Field Days: 

We regularly hold a variety of workshops and field days. We hope you will join us in learning more about conservation of our natural resources. To review our current scheduled workshops and field days click here