The Haw River Learning Celebration

The 2024 Haw River Learning Celebration will take place between September 21-October 11, 2024!

About the Haw River Learning Celebration

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 puppet show. The Learning Celebration in 2024 will take place between September 21 through October 11.

Over the years, so many volunteers and HRA staff have given their hearts, hands, and spirits to the continual creation of the Haw River Learning Celebration. Some come for a day, others join our “river camp” and set up a tent for the week. We have connected over 48,000 fourth-grade students to our beautiful river with the help of these amazing volunteers. Students experience activities where they observe, explore, and discover the life of the river and forest, learn how to protect the river, and use art to observe the natural world.

Preparing For The Haw River Learning Celebration

Come join us for an inspiring and fun day (or week) by the Haw River to volunteer as a guide – we provide the training! We also need volunteers to help with weekend field site set-ups and break- downs (Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon) and to cook meals. You can help as well by making a donation to support our Crowdfunder for this wonderful program. Help celebrate our watershed community’s dedication, and share in the excitement for the 2024 Haw River Learning Celebration.


Donate to the 2024 Learning Celebration!

Your donation allows 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.  You can donate online using the Paypal button below (Paypal Account not required), or can you mail a check payable to HRA with memo line Learning Celebration to PO Box 187 Bynum, NC 27228. Thank you!


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!

  • 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 events@hawriver.org for more information. 
Sign Up!
  • 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! You can sign up through the google form below.

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


The 2023 Haw River Learning Celebration Was a Great Success!

We had a great time with students and volunteers at our 2023 Haw River Learning Celebration from September 23rd-October 13th, at our outdoor river exploration and education program for 4th graders in our watershed. 784 students from Chatham, Guilford, Rockingham, and Durham at three different sites across the Haw River Watershed! Students learned about animals, water quality, pollution control, and more. It was great to be back at the river – and so much thanks to all the volunteers, donors, and teachers that make it possible for these children to explore their river ecosystem!




The Virtual Haw River Learning Celebration! 

In 2020, during the beginning of Covid, we had to cancel the Learning Celebration. We created six episodes that take you on a tour of 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 Volunteer & Events Coordinator, Hannah Welborn-Lewis at events@hawriver.org.