Educators around the Great Lakes have an opportunity to learn how to connect their students to their local watershed through the Great Lakes Watershed Field Course (GLWFC). The Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) offers the course at no cost and will take place August 8-11, 2023 in Suttons Bay, MI. Applications are due April 24, 2023.
Teachers will learn how to engage students in local environmental issues, investigate solutions, devise a plan, and take action. Training in the course includes watershed and environmental concepts, place-based education, and environmental education pedagogy. Teachers will also have time for curriculum development.
“Educators know that the best way to hook a learner is to make them curious, and the Great Lakes Watershed Field Course is Inland Seas’ opportunity to inspire curiosity. We take educators onto Lake Michigan on our schooner, into a stream on canoes, and wade through the wetlands that filter pollution from water that will eventually enter the Great Lakes. ISEA offers teachers and informal educators authentic scientific investigations and meaningful watershed experiences,” shared Trisha Smrecak, Education Coordinator at ISEA.
In addition to the four-day professional development, educators will receive a scholarship to bring their students on a Schoolship experience (an $825 value) and a mini-grant to implement their student stewardship action project (up to $300). ISEA also supports teachers throughout the school year with additional training, online forums, and other forms of assistance. Space is limited so teachers must apply to be considered for the program.
The GLWFC is open to formal and informal educators in all content areas from the Great Lakes region, but teachers who participate are required to implement a watershed-based stewardship action project with a group of students. Juliana Lisuk, ISEA Associate Director, added, “This is our fifth field course and over 100 teachers from seven of the eight Great Lakes states have participated.” Educators from previous field courses reported the course to be life-changing, reinvigorating, and motivating to them in their careers.
“We feel fortunate that we have the opportunity to support teachers in this way. When educators learn the knowledge and skills to implement watershed projects with their students, there is a multiplying effect impacting generations of Great Lakes stewards,” stated Fred Sitkins, ISEA Executive Director. “We are very grateful to the funders that allow this unique opportunity to be available to educators for free.”
More information, the application, and videos about the program can be found at schoolship.org/glwfc. Questions about the GLWFC can be sent to Trisha Smrecak at email@example.com.