Department of Environmental Conservation

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Annual Teacher Institutes and Academies

The 2017 Living Environment Institute - Wild about Wetlands

Teacher Professional Development Hosted by Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar, NY

August 22 - 24, 2017
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, with an evening program on the 23rd (until 8:00 PM; light dinner provided)
Cost: $50.00 for resources, and refreshments
Teachers or all ages and grades are welcome.

Join in this summer's Living Environment Institute (LEI) at our state of the art new Visitors and Education Center! This year we are Wild about Wetlands, as we explore these varied and sometimes highly specialized habitats. Wetlands are accessible to teachers and educators throughout New York State. They include river shores, vernal pools, swamps, streams, tidal marshes, and more. We'll view wetlands across disciplines, seeking to use them as a catalyst for student interest and learning.

Chris Bowser, education coordinator of the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve, will join Rebecca Houser of the Hudson River Estuary Program and Drew Hopkins of the newly renovated Five Rivers Environmental Education Center to lead investigations of a variety of wetland and estuary habitats. During a field experience, LEI participants will learn first-hand why these programs in the Hudson River watershed engage thousands of New York students and hundreds of educators annually. You'll bring home valuable ideas, standards-based curriculum and activities, and connect with a network of peers. And in the meantime we'll be immersed in estuary and wetlands, exploring by canoe, seining with nets and waders, and restoring submerged habitats.

Participants will receive 22 CTLE hours, and this program fulfills the requirements of the National Estuarine Research Reserve Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) program.

For more information, contact Five Rivers at 518-475-0291 or e-mail Five Rivers at
You can register by filling out the LEI registration form (PDF, 63 KB) .

Four workers with a large net doing river sampling
sampling river macroinvertebrates

Western NY: Summer Teacher Institute - Field and Forest

Hosted by Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve & Environmental Education Center in Depew, NY

August 2 - 3, 2017
9:00 AM to 3:30 PM each day

Educators of students in PreK to grade 12 will learn effective techniques to enhance their teaching in math, English language arts, science and other subject areas. Extensive information on environmental education resources available to Western New York teachers will be included in the program. Participants will receive written materials to enable them to transfer their new knowledge directly to the classroom. The two-day program provides 12 hours of instruction for which in-service or continuing education credit may be available. Topics in 2017 include:

  • Project- and place-based learning
  • Forest- classroom connections from Project Learning Tree, including:
    • Focus on Forests: discover hands-on forest study for high school students
    • Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood
  • Invasive Species
  • Climate change connections
  • Great Lakes Ecosystem Education Exchange
  • WNY plant and animal identification
  • Citizen science projects

To register, fill out the Summer Teacher Institute registration form (leaves DEC's website). Registration deadline is July 19, 2017.

For more information, call 716-683-5959 or email Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve at

Bronx Summer Teacher Institute: Exploring Bronx Forests

Hosted by NYSDEC's NYC Education Program and Friends of Van Cortlandt Park

July 31 - August 4, 2017
9:30 AM to 5:00 PM daily (*Saturday 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM)
Registration cost for 3 Credits through NYCDOE's ASPDP: $275 (includes $125 ASPDP fee)

Exploring Bronx Forests uses hands-on activities to bring NYC's local outdoor resources: forests, fields and gardens, into the classroom to enhance classroom learning. We will explore different aspects of nature (including wildlife, plant life, and ecosystems) and how these different aspects interact with each other and with humans. Materials covered include Project WILD, Flying WILD, Project Learning Tree, and more. The course also introduces teachers to local environmental organizations and resources that they can utilize in their classrooms. Teachers will be provided with new strategies for introducing environmental topics in connection with math, literacy, and art, fostering student leadership, and developing higher order thinking skills.

To register for the Institute, contact Sara Kempton at Friends of Van Cortlandt Park at or 718-601-1553. You MUST register with NYC Department of Education's After School Professional Development Program (ASPDP, link leaves DEC's website), a link to this site is also above and on the right. (Once on the ASPDP's website, use the link to the catalog of courses and search under provider using "Friends of Van Cortlandt Park" to find the actual course listing.)

For more information, contact Region 2 Education staff at 718-482-6404 or email Region 2 Education at