Gearing up for a new school year

You have to be living in a cave to have not noticed back-to-school displays as retailers hawk their wares to parents eagerly anticipating the relative quiet that follows summer as the kids head back to school. Our family finished off our school supply shopping with a hefty bill at Staples last week, and my daughter is already hard at work prepping for her first season of marching band.

With school just around the corner, it's a great time to share some changes that will be taking place in our educational outreach programs at Holmes SWCD this year. Our SWCD board identified some new priority focus areas for the next two years at our planning meeting this spring, and we've decided to carry those focus areas over to our educational programming as well. 

For the next two years, our staff will be focusing on soil health and water quality in all of our programming - and those will become to focal points of our educational programming as well. What does that mean for Holmes County teachers? While we will definitely be continuing popular educational programs like our Tom Graham 5th Grade Conservation Farm tour and in-classroom visits on topics like the Garbage Bag Watershed, Enviroscape, Incredible Journey, and Soil Scientists, it also means some of our in-classroom programs will no longer be offered.

The good news is, we are initiating a teacher lending library that we will keep stocked with all of the supplies & goodies teachers need to conduct these fun, hands-on, educational programs in their classroom on their own. Our initial lending library will include"

  • The Web of Life
  • History of Wildlife & Conservation in Ohio
  • Amphibians
  • Wildlife Treasures Travelling Trunk
  • Wildlife Detectives/Wildlife Bing
  • Let's Talk Turkey: Stayin' Alive
  • Every Tree for Itself
  • And more!

And even more good news is that throughout the year, we are going to be adding additional in-classroom educational programs that our staff can present. New programs coming include:

  • What's in My Water?
  • Soil Sleuths
  • Let it Rain (rainfall simulator)
  • And more to come!

We're excited about these changes to our educational programs! Teachers will still have access to all the materials we've always had - our staff just may not be able to come into the classroom and present the programming ourselves. But this also allows us to offer some really fun, new programming that aligns both with Ohio's educational standards as well as with the mission of Holmes SWCD.


Jane Houin, Fiscal & Education Specialist

A Holmes County native, Jane joined the Holmes SWCD staff in 2015 after spending 16 years in public relations for a land-grant university. She holds a BS with distinction in agricultural communication from Purdue University and her master's program in mass communication at Purdue focused on science and risk communication. Jane has a passion for education youth about the science of conservation and agriculture and is an active volunteer in local 4-H and Scout programs. She is excited to bring that passion back to Holmes County where she manages educational outreach programs, social media, and fiscal administration for the district. Jane raises horses and sheep on the family farm where she was raised south of Nashville along with her husband Craig and her three children: Aubree, Garrett & Tristan. You can reach Jane at 330-674-2811 or