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Professional Development

Professional Development opportunities are open to all professionals working with youth in environmental education.

Please check the Virginia Naturally Calendar for additional training opportunities and public events.

Summer Professional Development Opportunities


T-R-T is an extended professional development opportunity for teachers to connect with national parks through a summer work experience.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Sessions are offered June – Aug.

July 6 – 18 Coastal Marine Sciences (CMARS) Workshop for Teachers

July 7 – 12 Virginia Institute for Marine Science (VIMS) Teachers & Scientists Exploring Coastal Change

Mary-Baldwin College Environment Based Learning Courses

  • June 16 – 20 The Intersection of Life and Land: Issue Driven Investigations (IN634)
  • July 14 – 18 Nature Journaling across the Curriculum (ED616)
  • July 28 – Aug. 1 Math in the Garden: Engaging Students through Real-World Inquiry (ED618)

In-Service and Pre-Service Workshops

Project Learning Tree  (Department of Forestry)

Project Learning Tree (PLT) explores the natural and built environment. Topics range from forests, adaptations and biodiversity, to community planning, waste management, and energy. The PLT PreK-8 Activity Guide contains 96 activities that are correlated to all four major subjects and can be obtained through a six hour in-service workshop.
Secondary modules from Project Learning Tree (PLT) are available for in-service workshops at a minimum of two hours per module requested. Titles are: Focus on Forests, Forests of the World, Focus on Risk, Municipal Solid Waste, Places We Live, and Biodiversity.
PLT's Energy & Society Kits have 6 energy activities for grades K-8. The kit includes a CD of music and a DVD of the songs and dances for the activities written and performed by Billy B. These lessons can be delivered in a two hour workshop, or included in a six hour workshop for the PLT PreK-8 Guide.

Project WET (Department of Environmental Quality)

Project WET focuses on water as a resource. The Activity Guide, available through a six hour workshop, is designed for teachers of students in grades K-12 and features over 50 hands-on, interactive, multi-disciplinary lessons. Refer to the map of WET hosts for a site near you.

Project Underground (Department of Conservation and Recreation)

Project Underground features the importance of our karst resources, including the groundwater and surface water interactions, and the unique habitats and animals in karst areas. Through a six hour workshop participants will receive the Activity Guide, several posters, fact sheets and handouts for use in the classroom.

Schoolyard Habitat (Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)

Schoolyard Habitat trains teachers, Master Gardeners, and other educators how to teach students about wildlife and habitat in a schoolyard setting. Emphasis is placed on improving the habitat to benefit instruction as well as to increase the diversity of wildlife species found there. Participants in the six hour training receive a Homes for Wildlife planning guide and a 20/20 Projects and Activities guide.

Project WILD & Aquatic WILD (Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)

Project WILD is an interdisciplinary wildlife education program for teachers of grades K - 12. The guides, available through a four or eight hour workshop, includes over 150 activities that focus on the importance of habitat as well as many of the concepts in the Living Systems and Life Processes strands of the Virginia SOLs.

Flying WILD (Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)

introduces students to bird conservation through standards-based classroom activities and environmental stewardship projects. Flying WILD encourages schools to work closely with conservation organizations, community groups, and businesses involved with birds to implement school bird festivals and bird conservation projects. The Activity Guide can be obtained through a four hour workshop.

Science and Civics: Sustaining Wildlife (Department of Game and Inland Fisheries)

Project WILD's high school curriculum, Science and Civics, involves students in environmental action projects aimed at benefiting the local wildlife found in a community. It involves students in the decisions affecting people, wildlife and their shared habitat in the community. The Activity Guide can be obtained through a four hour workshop.

Wonders of Wetlands  (Environmental Concern)

The Wonder of Wetlands (WOW) focuses on the functions and importance of wetland ecosystems. The Activity Guide offers background material for preparation and 45 activities that can be done in the classroom or at a local wetland and can be obtained through a four hour workshop.

Your Backyard Classrooms (Department of Conservation and Recreation)

The Virginia State Parks ... Your Backyard Classrooms activity guide is a set of K-12 activities directly related to the natural, historical and cultural resources of Virginia and covers all regions of the state. This hands-on curriculum explores ways to use state parks as a living classroom and is available through a six hour workshop.

Using the Environment as the Context for STEM

Student achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is key to fostering innovators who can creatively address complex 21st century challenges. Environmental resource management is a compelling context for teaching STEM by providing a diverse range of real-world challenges that engage students in hands-on opportunities to apply and reinforce STEM concepts across multiple subject areas. Please contact the specific Project Coordinator to discuss your needs.
Note: All materials used for the trainings have been correlated to the Virginia Science Standards of Learning.
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Programs for professional development and networking for environmental educators

Environmental Educators Leadership Program

The EELP develops and enhances the professional skills and abilities of Virginia educators for the protection of the environment. This program can serve as a roadmap for developing skills needed to teach about the environment.

North American Association for Environmental Education

Learn how to use high-quality teaching methods to show people how to make a difference in the world through a positive, nonconfrontational approach.

Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute (VRNRLI)

To develop leaders in the Commonwealth who can help groups involved in contentious natural resources issues move beyond conflict toward consensus building and collaborative problem solving.

Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP)

This site offers educators information, resources, and links for promoting academic achievement and environmental literacy.

Other items of interest

Read the definition of a Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (PDF) (MWEE)

Environmental Literacy & Environmental Education Defined

The Environmental Education and Training Partnership (EETAP) has developed these understandable and explainable descriptions of "Environmental Literacy" and "Environmental Education" to make it easier for the field to explain and how these terms are directly connected with people's lives. Included with the descriptions are examples of what environmental literacy looks like, how EE and educational achievement are linked, EE "done right," and links to additional resources.

My Environmental Education Evaluation Resource Assistant (MEERA)

A web-based tool for planning and learning about environmental education (EE) evaluation(s).

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point offers on-line classes pertaining to environmental education. Classes are offered for spring and fall semesters.

Download and print the 5 Ways to Help Virginia’s Environment brochure to share with others.