The Haw River Learning Celebration

Update on 2021 Annual Learning Celebration

The traditionally fall event has been cancelled due to concerns about the Covid Delta variant and the risk to children and volunteers. We will reassess in early 2022, with the hope of putting on a modified version of the program in the Spring. In the meantime, please check out our online “Virtual Haw River Learning Celebration” at https://hawriver.org/resources/education/

The Haw River Learning Celebration is a field trip to the Haw River for fourth graders each fall.  Since we began the program in 1990, over 48,000 students have participated.  Schools attend one of our three locations in Chatham, Alamance and Rockingham counties and spend a day doing activities along the river, enjoying a picnic lunch and concert together, and a special puppet show.

Moving forward the Haw River Assembly is hoping to bring back the ‘GREATEST field trip ever’! The traditionally fall event has been cancelled. We hope to bring a modified version to schools in Spring of 2022. Please check in for updates at the beginning of the New Year! 


Volunteer With Us!

Each year nearly one hundred volunteers make the Learning Celebration a reality, as guides and activity presenters (we provide the training), helping us setup and move between sites, preparing meals for the crew and more!

  • Be a “Floater” or a “Sticker”: There are 2 main volunteer positions. Floaters spend the entire program day (Tuesdays – Fridays) with the same group of about 10 kids. They walk the kids from station to station. If you’ve never volunteered with us before then the floater position is perfect for you! Stickers stay at one station and teach that station for the entire day. Sticker positions are experienced volunteers and require training from year to year on Sundays and Mondays during the program week. Can’t help out during the week but still want to contribute your time? Sign up for Saturdays when we set up camp! Many hands make light work!
  • Donate a Meal: Our volunteers camp on site with us for the entire week we’re at a site. Want to make a meal for a great cause? We are seeking meal donations to fuel our robust team of volunteers that make the Haw River Learning Celebration possible! Food donations allow us to keep the costs of the program as low as possible. It helps make it feasible for us to charge only $3 per child, and we never turn down a child for inability to pay.  We greatly appreciate our food donors and the critical role they play in making the Learning Celebration possible. If you’d rather contribute a monetary donation to cover a meal, we will gladly accept it! Please email krooks@hawriver.org for more information. 

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


The Virtual Haw River Learning Celebration! 

Six episodes include the wonderful activities traditionally hosted at the Learning Celebration plus puppet scenes with Paperhand Puppets, and even animation. This is available to all the 4th grade students in the watershed – and to everyone who wishes to see it for free (with a suggested small donation).  We want to inspire students throughout the entire watershed to visit their local river and learn how to stay connected with nature through beautiful cinematography.

Check out a sneak peak of the fun below! All six episodes and Teacher Guides are at https://hawriver.org/resources/education/


Resources for Teachers

For any additional inquiries regarding the Learning Celebration please feel free to contact our Watershed Education and Outreach Coordinator, Kyleene Rooks at krooks@gmail.com

Schedule and Station Descriptions

Teacher’s Checklist

Classroom Activities

Parent’s Letter