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Workshops for Educators

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International Environmental Education Projects Sponsored in NYS

The Department offers professional development workshops for educators and youth leaders. Offered at various locations throughout the state, these multi-disciplinary workshops offer participants a curriculum guide, an opportunity to experience activities first-hand and receive a variety of support materials. Groups of informal educators (museum staff, after school providers, homeschoolers, scout leaders, and environmental education non-profits among youth leaders), formal teachers, and college students in education, natural resources, and environmental education can request a workshop in any of the Projects.

Workshop requirements
  • Group sizes: minimum 12 participants (for activities to work) and maximum 30 (to keep workshops manageable, larger groups can be discussed with State Coordinators)
  • request date must be 4 or more weeks in advance
  • guides are provided free of charge to participants
  • minimum hours
    • WILD, Aquatic WILD, and WET = 4 hours
    • PLT = 5 hours
    • Early Childhood workshops depend on number of curricula (2 curricula = 3 hours; all 3 curricula = 4-5 hours)
  • Contact edprofdevel@dec.ny.gov to discuss hosting a workshop

Project Learning Tree

Project Learning Tree (PLT) (leaves DEC website) is an interdisciplinary, hands-on curriculum that uses the forest as a window on the world. There are curricula for early childhood (Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood, min 2-hour workshop), Pre-K to 8th grade (Project Learning Tree Activity Guide, min 5-hour workshop), and a variety of secondary modules for high school (Secondary Modules such as Focus on Forests & Places We Live, min 2-hour workshop). The Pre K-8 guide is correlated to Common Core State Standards in both Math and English Language Arts and STEM concepts.

For Kindergarten to 8th Grade

A popular resource for educators of elementary and middle school students, PLT's PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide includes 96 hands-on, multidisciplinary activities that bring the environment into the classroom, and students into the environment. Charting Diversity. Birds and Worms. Pollution Search. These are some of the fun, hands-on activities with emphasis on science, reading, writing, mathematics, and social studies that engage students in learning - both outside and indoors. Topics include trees and forests, wildlife, water, air, energy, waste, climate change, invasive species, community planning, and more. Each activity is tailored to specific grade levels and learning objectives and filled with opportunities to build critical thinking skills and differentiated instruction techniques.

On a limited grant opportunity, the newly updated Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide, can be offered in workshops for formal & informal educators. This new guide includes 50 hands-on, multidisciplinary activities to connect children to nature and increase young people's awareness and knowledge about their environment. Activities include detailed step-by-step instructions, academic correlations, time and material requirements, and corresponding student worksheets with green career connections. This supplementary curriculum is designed to develop students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

For Early Childhood (preK to 2nd Grade)

Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood and CD provide an introduction to environmental education, encouraging children ages 3 to 6 to explore, discover and communicate in expressive ways. With over 130 experiences that engage young children in outdoor exploration and play, it's no wonder Learning® Magazine chose PLT's Early Childhood guide as a Teachers' Choice Award winner!

Betsy Ukeritis, NY State Coordinator

To contact her about PLT workshops, email edprofdevel@dec.ny.gov

Project WILD

Project WILD (leaves DEC website), Aquatic WILD, Flying WILD, and the early childhood Growing Up WILD workshops, featuring wildlife, are funded in New York State by Return a Gift to Wildlife.

Kindergarten to 12th Grade

Project WILD is an interdisciplinary conservation and environmental education program that focuses on wildlife and habitat. The goal of Project WILD is to develop awareness, knowledge, skills, and commitment resulting in informed decisions, responsible behavior, and constructive actions concerning wildlife and the environment. The Guide includes Field Investigation Activities, In Step with STEM Activity Extensions, WILD Work Career Connections, and Outdoor Components.

Aquatic WILD uses the simple, successful format of Project WILD activities and professional training workshops but with an emphasis on aquatic wildlife and aquatic ecology. Water in all its forms is one of the most dramatic of today's arenas in which informed, responsible, and constructive actions are needed. The Aquatic WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide is available to formal and nonformal educators who attend an Aquatic WILD training through our Project WILD state partners. For more information, click "Get Training" below. If you're already an Aquatic WILD educator, feel free to browse the many resources found below for WILD Work, In Step with STEM, field investigations, and more!

Flying WILD, through activities involving language arts, social science and math experiences, coupled with community outreach and service learning applications, offers a whole-school approach to environmental education using birds as the focus. Targeted for the middle-school audience, though widely adaptable, Flying WILD offers practical hands-on classroom and outdoor field investigation experiences connecting real-world experiences in bird biology, conservation, and natural history.

Early Childhood (preK to 2nd Grade)

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education curriculum that builds on children's sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, it provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world and lifelong social and academic skills. Growing Up WILD is a multi-award winning curriculum having received the 2009 Family Choice Award and the 2011 Renewable Natural Resource Foundation Excellence in Journalism Award.

The activity guide, Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children

  • Features 27 field-tested, hands-on, nature-based, ready-made thematic units and over 400 experiences in a full-color activity guide.
  • Includes outdoor explorations, scientific inquiry, art projects, music and movement, conservation activities, reading and math connections and "Healthy Me" extensions.
  • Involves social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive domains to help foster learning and development in all areas.
  • Supports developmentally appropriate practice allowing children to learn at levels that are individually, socially, and culturally appropriate.

Drew Hopkins & Betsy Ukeritis, NY State Co-coordinators

To contact them about any WILD workshops, email edprofdevel@dec.ny.gov

Project WET

Project WET (leaves DEC website) (min 4 hours) and the early childhood Getting Little Feet WET (min 3 hours) are multidisciplinary water-based curriculums. WET 2.0 was updated in 2012 and now includes correlations to Common Core State Standards in Math and English Language Arts and Next Generation Science Standards. It also includes connections to STEM, Science Career Readiness, and reading opportunities. Getting Little Feet WET: Project WET's Early Childhood Education Guide was released in 2017. This curriculum is a developmentally appropriate approach to teaching about our connections to water for ages 3 to 7 years old.

Kindergarten to 12th Grade

The award-winning, NSTA-recommended Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 continues Project WET's dedication to 21st-century, cutting-edge water education. Correlated to the Common Core Standards and NGSS, the Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 gives educators of students from kindergarten to 12th grade the tools they need to integrate water education into every school subject. The guide also includes numerous extensions for using the activities in Pre-K environments. Featuring 64 field-tested activities, more than 500 color photographs and illustrations, and useful appendices with information on teaching methods, assessment strategies and more, this guide is an essential classroom tool. The Curriculum & Activity Guide 2.0 won the Gold Medal, 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Education (Workbook / Resource) category and the National Science Teachers Association has selected this book as part of their NSTA Recommends list of books for science educators.

Early Childhood (preK to 2nd Grade)

Getting Little Feet WET was developed in coordination with early childhood experts and educators and is designed to help educators of young children teach about water in fun, age-appropriate ways. The book contains 11 interactive, hands-on activities for young learners to explore different aspects of water-from water properties to water sounds. Each activity offers both Pre-K and K-2 options and is correlated to educational standards.

Drew Hopkins & Betsy Ukeritis, NY State Co-coordinators

To contact them about any WILD workshops, email edprofdevel@dec.ny.gov

Hudson River

Hudson River Workshops introduce study of the Hudson using interdisciplinary standards-based classroom lessons, remote sensing data on the World Wide Web, and field activities. Typically three to six hours long, their timing and content are customized to meet the needs of participants.

Annual Institutes & Academies at DEC Centers

Living Environment Institutes

Presented by Five Rivers Environmental Education Center in Delmar, NY, in coordination with the National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Hudson River Estuary Program, and Cornell University

For more information, contact Five Rivers at 518-475-0291 or e-mail Five Rivers at 5rivers@dec.ny.gov.

Western NY: Summer Teacher Institute

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

For more information on both of these opportunities, contact Reinstein Woods at 716-683-5959 or email reinsteinwoods@dec.ny.gov


More about Workshops for Educators :

  • Hudson River Workshops - Available from New York City to the Capital Region around Albany, these trainings show how study of the Hudson River estuary can be a context for teaching STEM skills, English language arts, and social studies.
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  • Environmental Education
    625 Broadway; 3rd Flr
    Albany, NY 12233-5256
    518-402-8043
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