The Haw River Learning Celebration

Join us for the 2019 Learning Celebration

2019 Dates:

Bynum  – Sept 21-27
Saxapahaw – Sept 28-Oct 4
Camp Guilrock – Oct 6-11


This unique three-week riverside educational program gets kids outside into nature and inspires them to be the next generation of conservationists. Our volunteer guides use nature as the classroom – for many children, this is their first experience hiking through a forest and along a river. We provide on-site training and orientation. Volunteers guide small groups  of 4th graders through activities that explore the woods and river through hands-on experiences. Haw River Assembly brings the infrastructure to create a campsite for volunteers and activities for the students who come for day-long field trips. Free time for volunteers can be spent taking kayak trips on the river, hiking in the forest, and enjoying shared community time outdoors. This exceptional program has earned much acclaim since its beginning in 1990 and is thought of by many students and teachers to be the BEST FIELD TRIP EVER.*

Volunteer Registration is now available for the 2019 Learning Celebration!

Click here to sign up!

Email if you have questions!



We depend on meal donations to fuel our robust team of volunteers that make the Haw River Learning Celebration possible! Each day of the celebration, we need both lunch and dinner to sustain our volunteer crew. Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up to provide a lunch or a dinner on one of the days of the learning celebration.
  • Prepare a vegetarian meal for 25-30 volunteers on that date.
  • Drop that meal off at the appropriate location (Bynum, Saxapahaw, or Camp Guilrock) on that date.
  • We will contact you in advance to let you know how many volunteers we are expecting for that date and provide directions for dropoff.

Click here to sign up for a meal slot! 

Meet Kyleene Rooks, our new Event and Outreach Coordinator, who will be organizing the Learning Celebration!

We are very happy to announce the hiring of Kyleene, Rooks, our new Events and Outreach Coordinator!   She has been working for Guilford Co. Soil and Water Conservation doing outreach, education, and events. Kyleene graduated from A & T and  is experienced with teaching water quality programs for the public and schools, as well as Project Wet and Project Wild to teachers.  In addition to the Learning Celebration she will be organizing our annual river clean-up and Festival, and other outreach and educational events. She will start work with HRA on Monday August 5.

We are wishing all the best to Erin Jobe, our prior coordinator, who has taken a position with the Town of Chapel Hill. We thank her for her for her excellent work with us!

Help Us Keep the Learning Celebration Flowing!

It’s the 30th Anniversary of this great program that has brought 47,000 children to explore the Haw River since 1990. We apply for grants, ask for donations from businesses, and work to save on costs in every way possible, but the expenses of hosting over 1,200 children and 100 volunteers over three weeks add up!

Help us raise $5000 by October 11 to defray the costs of this terrific program – we’re at $800 and growing!

The children that experience the Learning Celebration are the next generation that will protect and love the Haw River. As fewer environmental education programs are offered in schools, this program that connects so many children to their natural environment is more critical and impactful than ever. Many of the children who come have never been in a “wild forest” and at the riverside before – it’s a time of great discovery for them. Your funds are needed to ensure that the Learning Celebration thrives for decades to come. So far, we’ve connected over 47,000 children to the river, and let’s keep that number growing!


$5 – Every donation counts, and could possibly change a child’s life forever.

$10 – Sends 3 students to the LC for one day

$25 – Provides materials for the Clay, Stream Steward, Nature Art Learning Stations for one day

$50 – Keeps the educational puppet show, “A Haw Story” going

$100 – Feeds the entire volunteer crew for 1 meal

$250 – Covers transportation costs associated with moving all educational materials and volunteer supplies to 3 different sites.

$500 -Sends 2 watershed schools to the Learning Celebration

Please consider a donation to the Learning Celebration. Make a donation through our website, or you can you mail a check payable to HRA with memo line Learning Celebration to PO Box 187 Bynum, NC 27228.  Please contact us at or 919-542-5790 if you would like to make an in-kind donation. Thank you!

For more information about the Learning Celebration, click here


School Registration for the 2019 Haw River Learning Celebration is now open!

Click here to register your fourth grade class today. 


About the Learning Celebration

The Learning Celebration is a 3 week  long environmental education program held in 3 counties. We’ll spend a week each at sites along the river. September 21-27 in Bynum at the Lower Haw River State Natural Area, September 28- October 4 in Saxapahaw, and October 6-11 at Camp Guilrock in Reidsville. Volunteers lead 4th graders through hands-on exploration of the river environment. Learning Stations include nature art, stream ecology, watershed cultural history, and animals. All meet NCSCOS Competency Goals for 4th grade; there’s also a puppet show and concert! All activities inspire students to think about how human actions affect the river and its watershed communities.

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, and especially by donations from our members and supporters.


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


Resources for Volunteers

2019 Volunteer Registration Form

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


Resources for Teachers

The Haw River Learning Celebration school registration is now open.  Please fill out this registration form HERE if your school is interested in attending. If you have any questions please contact event coordinator

Schedule and Station Descriptions

Teacher’s Checklist

Classroom Activities

Parent’s Letter