Teacher Field School
A program for K-12 teachers and specialists
The Teacher Field School is an immersive, research-backed field school that exists to support teachers in using nature-based education to benefit student well-being and academic outcomes while increasing stewardship habits. The program, open to K-12 teachers and specialists across Minnesota, is a series of retreats focused on helping teachers develop fluency in standards-aligned, equity-centered, multidisciplinary approaches in nature-based education. Teachers at Independent schools, charter schools, and public schools are encouraged to apply.
During these retreats, teachers will develop skills in nature-based teaching. Using existing curriculum, teams will learn how to use nature as a context in ways that meet state standards, while deepening understanding of multidisciplinary teaching. They'll practice creating high-impact nature-based lessons and activities that will engage and excite all students, and understand why nature is the best classroom across the curriculum.
Perhaps most importantly at this time, this work will rejuvenate teachers, re-ignite their passion for teaching, and help reduce stress, anxiety and burnout.
All activities and content will be tailored to the teachers' grade level and teaching context. Our instructors have expertise in teaching all grade levels, and in a variety of settings, making it easy to align the work of the retreats to each team's unique needs.
Note: In the first year, preference will be given to teams from K-6 settings. The program is available to teachers in Minnesota.
Frequently-asked questions about the Teacher Field School
Field trips to parks and nature centers are a tradition for thousands of Minnesota students. They spark curiosity, help connect children to the natural world and create lifetime memories. Beyond the occasional field trip, more sustained engagement in nature-based experiences has the potential to benefit students of all ages through supporting their intellectual, physical, and mental health, developing conservation ethics, and establishing subject matter relevance and connection across disciplines. Most young people spend 1000+ hours annually in school, presenting Minnesota teachers with a clear opportunity to help students succeed by coupling academics with nature-based experiences.
The Field School is located in Marine-on-St Croix, MN. There may be additional locations added.
An application will be available soon. Complete this interest form (Google Form) and the program manager will be in touch with you.
Teachers who participate have the option of receiving CEUs or graduate credit for an additional fee. Graduate credits earned from this experience can be used toward our MAEd in Natural Sciences and Environmental Education (NSEE) electives. If you are interested in this option, please contact Dr. Born at email@example.com.
Interested parties can reach out to the principal investigator, Dr. Patty Born (co-program director for environmental studies), at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Teachers will use their existing curriculum and lessons – they WON’T be asked to create anything new.
- All retreats are free to participants and mileage will be reimbursed.
- Team members will receive a “gear bag” with outdoor teaching tools and resources valued at $250.
- Team members will each receive a stipend upon completion of the program.
Research strongly supports the use of nature as a context for teaching: it offers a host of opportunities for social-emotional learning and development, helps boost academic achievement, reduces the risk of COVID-19 exposure and supports resilience in the face of the pandemic, and has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress in students and teachers alike. We urge you to take this opportunity to invest in your own growth and development, as well as to make an investment in the students you reach every day.
Our partners and funding
Our partners include the Freshwater Society and the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMRA).