The Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools

The Institute for Sustainable Schools is home to professional learning programs and resources for PreK-12 educators. Build your knowledge, connect with fellow educators, and enhance your teaching practice around Education for Sustainability with offerings year round – at the farm, online, or in your community.

Now enrolling for 2022:

Visit Shelburne Farms Professional Learning for Educators Website for more information.

Opportunities at North Branch Nature Center (NBNC)

Educator Institutes: Educator Institutes provide week-long nature immersion courses for teachers, assistants, and administrators. It features inquiry-based, outdoor learning through intensive experiential lessons, activities, and discussions. Led by NBNC staff and veteran public-school teachers, participants will move beyond the classroom and engage with nature as a learning partner. Participants will develop a nature pedagogy and learn to incorporate VELS, NGSS, and Common Core into their design of nature immersion curricula. 

ECO Institute: Natural History Fundamentals for Educators 

Instructors: Ken Benton & Guests

For PreK - 6th grade educators

June 27 - July 1

ECO Institute: Nature-Based Routines for Outdoor Classrooms

Instructors: Ken Benton & Guests

For PreK - 6th grade educators

August 8-12

Vermont Biodiversity Institute for Educators

Instructors: Ken Benton & Sean Beckett

For 7th - 12th grade educators

July 25-29 2022

Biodiversity University: Biodiversity University offers in-depth nature study taught by the region’s finest experts and educators. Students are weekend naturalists, working ecologists, and anyone with an insatiable drive to understand the pieces and patterns of our wild world. Spend a weekend or a week this summer immersed outdoors in a learning community of like-minded nature lovers. Registration for Summer 2022 Field Courses is open!

    Online Classes: Pursue your naturalist education in a virtual format with our online courses. Discover, learn and explore the diversity of life near you with a new slate of online courses offered by North Branch Nature Center. Each course, taught by an expert biologist, naturalist, or artist, combines online lectures and readings with your own independent study outdoors. 

    Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) Summer Institute

    The 2022 VEEP/NHEEP Summer Institute encourages teachers to use play, wonder, and hope as catalysts for inspiring students to make change, and to find joy in taking action. We will model empowering, interdisciplinary, student-driven instructional practices to connect students to energy and climate topics and to help them find meaningful and authentic ways to be part of evidence-based solutions in their communities.

    Participants will:

    • Identify curricular pathways and work on standards-aligned unit plans that lead from joyful, hopeful and/or wondrous phenomena/engineering challenges to meaningful energy or climate action
    • Experience hands-on, minds-on lessons from the student perspective, and engage in play each day.
    • Access opportunities for further collaboration with VEEP/NHEEP for student workshops, PD, curriculum development, action projects, and more
    • Become part of our cohort of teachers dedicated both to serving students and moving towards sustainability in our communities, economy and environment

    Summer Institute is open to all educators. This year’s program will take place during the week of August 15th. We will begin the week with two virtual days of both synchronous and asynchronous pieces. We will then transition to a 3-day in-person program at Lake Morey Resort.

    August 15th - August 19th (Virtual Support: Monday, Tuesday & In-person Program at Lake Morey Resort: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)

    Learn more or register. 

    Lake Champlain Sea Grant Teacher Professional Development 

    Champlain Research Experience for Secondary Teachers (3 credits) - June 27-July 1 

    The Champlain Research Experience for Secondary Teachers (CREST) 2.0 Program will engage grade 7-12 teachers in an exploration of Lake Champlain Basin research through authentic investigations alongside scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, teachers, and teacher educators.  CREST 2.0 builds on the original CREST Program by offering teachers opportunities to engage in new research experiences at Shelburne Farms and at UVM’s Rubenstein Ecosystem Labs. Additionally, participants will have opportunities to integrate project, proficiency, and place-based teaching practices as they develop a project based on the CREST touchstones to be implemented in their classrooms during the academic year.  CREST program activities are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the Computer Science Teacher Association Standards (CSTA) and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in ELA and Mathematics. New emphasis will be placed on computational thinking skills and proficiencies. 

    For more information contact: Ashley Eaton,  

    Stormwater Education Methods (NR 295/395 - 1 credit) - August 2-4

    This course will allow teachers to understand the key concepts of a stormwater stewardship curriculum so as to be able to effectively implement it with upper elementary, middle and/or high school students. To become familiar with curriculum content, course participants will engage in hands-on learning to understand the definition of, sources of, and impacts of stormwater on surface water bodies. In addition, they will learn uses for and mechanism of operation for a variety of types of green stormwater infrastructure practices. The course will also provide participants with information about opportunities and steps to implement and maintain various green stormwater infrastructure practices. 

    For more information contact: Ashley Eaton,  

    Watershed for Every Classroom (3 credits) - year-long 

    Watershed for Every Classroom (WEC) is a year-long professional development experience for K-12 educators in the Lake Champlain Basin of Vermont, New York and Qu├ębec, brought to you by CBEI - the Champlain Basin Education Initiative.  A Watershed for Every Classroom is a year-long, supported professional development program for educators who teach in the Lake Champlain Basin, presented by the Champlain Basin Education Initiative. The stories of the Lake Champlain Basin offer multiple ways to teach all subjects; engage students in learning in their community; and provide a way to integrate content, service, and a sense of belonging to one’s home place. We will explore how people, places, and things tell the stories of the Lake Champlain Basin and offer our students the opportunity to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of content, community engagement, and sense of place.  Teams of two or more educators are encouraged to apply. Individuals are also welcome.   The year long program kicks off with a week-long summer intensive in mid- July and continues through out the  school year.   The program is most suited for educators working in grades 4-9, but is applicable to all subject areas and grades.

    Register here:

    Online College Courses - Vermont Afterschool & CCV

    Vermont Afterschool partners with the Child Development Division (CDD) to offer FREE 3-credit, online courses for afterschool professionals through the Community College of Vermont (CCV). This is a tuition-free opportunity for those who are currently working in a regulated child care setting. This opportunity is made possible because of a grant from the Child Development Division of the Vermont Department of Children and Families. These classes are linked to the Afterschool and Youth Work Certificate, offered by CCV as a way to help youth work professionals advance in their careers. We worked with CCV to develop this certificate, which can be completed fully online for a total of 24 credits.

    For questions on courses and registration, please contact Tricia Pawlik at or 802-448-3464. Course size is limited to 15 and students must register through Vermont Afterschool (NOT CCV).

    More information:

    Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

    Youth Mental Health First Aid USA teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders in youth. This training gives adults who work with youth the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to children and adolescents (ages 12-18) who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. This training includes 2 hours of required pre-work and 5 hours of instructor-led content.

    Date: August 25, 2022 (9-2 PM)

    Location: TBD

    Cost: $30.00

    More information:

    Northern Lights Professional Development

    Northern Lights at CCV is the hub of the professional development system for early childhood and afterschool professionals in Vermont. We offer trainings, career advising, and friendly support to assist with your professional development goals.

    Check offerings and trainings here

    North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Professional Development Resources

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