The Haw River Learning Celebration

We had  a GREAT  30th Haw River Learning Celebration!

This year was extra special as it was the 30th Annual Haw River Learning Celebration (LC). A true milestone year for bringing children to the river! Both a big thank you and congratulations to the volunteers and staff who have made it possible to have such a fabulous, longstanding event, often regarded as “THE BEST FIELD TRIP EVER!” In all we hosted over 1,100 children from Orange, Durham, Chatham, Alamance, Guilford and Rockingham schools for day-long field trips on the river.

As a part of celebrating the accomplishment of 30 years, Wednesday nights were for potluck dinners shared with past volunteers and friends of the Haw River Assembly and telling stories of the previous Learning Celebrations. The weather was hot and sunny, and low water levels made it easy for kids to explore for macroinvertebrates amongst the rocks each day. In the afternoons, the volunteer crew spent lots of time swimming to keep us cooled off!

For the 30th year in a row, the Haw River Learning Celebration brought together a community that shares a love and passion for protecting the river. The staff and volunteers are rich in knowledge and history of the Haw River; making it easy to see how such a program could thrive year after year. We are so grateful for the volunteers, food providers,  landowners who host us, teachers, community members and local businesses that make the Learning Celebration possible.

Thanks also to all of you who donated to the Crowdunder and make it possible for us to have the resources to keep this fantastic program going, year after year!

It takes a village – and we’re a great one!



The first Haw River Learning Celebration took place in 1990 and earned a NC Take Pride in America award. In 1992, Festival founder Louise Kessel won the Women of Environmental Action award for North Carolina. Since 1990, more than 44,000 students and 2,700 volunteers have participated in the Learning Celebration. The Learning Celebration  has also been supported over the years by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Mary Norris Preyer Foundation, EPA, Triangle Community Foundation, R.E.I, The Alamance Community Foundation, and especially by donations from our members and supporters.


The Learning Celebration / Haw River Assembly from Mark Barroso on Vimeo.


Resources for Volunteers

Haw River Learning Celebration Volunteer Manual – “The Handy Dandy Guide”


Resources for Teachers

The 2020 Haw River Learning Celebration school registration will be open on April 1st, 2020.

Please send any inquiries in advance of that date to the Learning Celebration Coordinator, Kyleene Rooks at

Schedule and Station Descriptions

Teacher’s Checklist

Classroom Activities

Parent’s Letter