Natural, Green, & Organic

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“When I was looking for a summer experience that I thought she’d like, I went to the Green America site and then found you. I mention this because the values of Green America (and your camp) are ones that all of us share. The idea being that it’s important to examine the world, to respect it and question it and to improve it. Carly has always been a learner, a student, an inquisitive human being, while always being very aware of the needs of others.”GRP Parent

Green River Preserve is a Green America Approved Business. To be accepted for this accreditation, standards criteria set by Green America must be met. Green River Preserve is one of two summer camps awarded this seal.  The seal is presented to businesses that go beyond product and service quality to set the highest standards in environmental sustainability and social justice, and work to solve, rather than create, environmental and social problems.

Base Camp Construction

In 1987, construction of the base camp for Green River Preserve began in an old cornfield bordered by springs. Timber harvested from the site became logs for the camp’s lodge and cabins. Virtually the entire camp was built by people from the Green River valley. From sawyer to carpenter, stonemason to electrician, the people who built the camp are from many of the same families that taught Sandy to love the Green River valley so long ago. The sustainable practice of using timber harvested on the preserve for building projects and craftsmen from the valley continues today.

Wildlife Food Plots

Soon after purchasing the Green River land in 1953, Sandy’s father formed a hunting club. A requirement of the “Buck Club” was to live within seven miles of the Preserve. This provided generations of families in the valley hunting rites at designated times of the year in exchange for maintaining wildlife feed plots and protecting the land from poachers. The creation of the Buck Club encouraged a relationship with the valley families of mutual respect and kindness we continue to share today. First and second generation members maintain eleven protected feed plots on the preserve along with a healthy sustainable wildlife population. Years of their stories of the Preserve serve as campfire tales during the summer, including the infamous “Lost Cave,” jack-o-lanterns, and the Cherokee.

GRP Water Source

Green River Preserve has its’ own water source from one of the freshest mountain streams in the area. Many people who taste the water remark that it is the best water they have ever had!


Campers and staff daily pack 2 refillable water bottles for use on mentor hikes, activities, and camping trips. In addition to our own water source, Green River Preserve utilizes a rain water collection system at our farm for irrigation.

On Demand Hot Water Heating

In 2008, Green River Preserve began installing on demand hot water heaters as old hot water heaters needed to be replaced. New construction projects requiring hot water began with on demand hot water heaters.

Waste Not, Want Not: Composting at GRP

A daily ritual at Green River Preserve is the practice of composting ORT, organic, recyclable trash or food left on your plate. “Ortman,” a superhero from the planet Compost and his side kick, “Scrapie,” visit each night at dinner to give an all camp “Ort Report.” Camper tables strive to be “ort free” during camp. Ortman’s motto, “Waste not want not” resonates throughout camp. Compostable food is used for making compost for the GRP farm. Un-compostable foods are given to a local farmer for pig slop. This simple, creative program in recycling food is a teachable moment in sustainability for our campers.

Dishware at GRP

Green River Preserve uses regular dishware, flatware, and glassware to serve meals. Camping trips are supplied with campout mess kits. If warranted, biodegradable products are used for all camp events such as an all camp picnic at DuPont Forest.

Leave no Trace

Green River Preserve is an educational partner with Leave No Trace. Campers and staff practice the seven ethics of Leave no Trace low impact camping while at camp and on the Preserve.

Life Time Skills and Pioneer Crafts

Growing up in an increasingly competitive and stressful world, Green River Preserve thinks it is important for their campers to learn healthy and rewarding ways to spend their time. As a result, campers learn skills that they can use for life. In the Pioneer Cabin at camp, campers are taught primitive skills practiced by the early settlers of the Appalachian Mountains. A harvested Poplar Tree’s bark is used for making baskets and the inside of the bark is stripped to make cordage, rope made from tree bark. Campers learn about fiber by spinning their own raw wool and dying it with dyes made from plants collected on the Preserve. Beeswax balm, candles, outdoor cooking, gourd art, and fire by friction are just a few of the other primitive skills and crafts offered in the Pioneer village. Fly fishing or as we prefer to call it, “Aquatic Theology,” remains a highlight of the Schenck family and campers recognize the importance of catch and release fishing. Weekend camping trips include low impact camping skills and the seven ethics of Leave no Trace, an educational partner of Green River Preserve.

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Recycling

Recycling bins are located throughout the camp property. At GRP, we feel it is important to show campers how to re-purpose recycled items. For that reason, we not only recycle, but we try to use many recycled items in various activity areas. Canjos, the Appalachian variety of an early banjo, are made with a #10 can and scrap wood. Recycled cans and yogurt containers are used in crafts , woodworking, and painting as containers to hold brushes, pencils, markers and various other materials. Cans are also used to make tin punch lanterns and as molds for candles. Recycled paper is used to make paper pulp for making homemade paper and journals. Old tire inner tubes and recycled cardboard are used to make printing plates for printmaking.

Green River Preserve tries to use recycled printing products whenever possible. Office supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, and various other paper products used in the camp are recycled items.

Lighting and other Energy Saving Practices:

Green River Preserve is committed to using compact fluorescent and LED bulbs throughout the property. Rechargeable batteries are used for camp cameras and other camp equipment. We strive to use energy-efficient appliances in camp laundry facilities and kitchens. Ceiling fans and are throughout the camp buildings. Used on a reversible mode, these fans help preserve heating costs in winterized buildings in colder months. Digital programmable set-back thermostats are also in winterized buildings.

Biodiesel Fuel

Green River Preserve recycles oil used for cooking in our kitchen to a local vendor for resale biodiesel fuel.