• Center for Global Environmental Education

  • 2017 Rivers Institutes featuring
    Waters to the Sea

    Free for Educators!

    (A fully-refundable deposit of $50 is required to complete the registration process. It will be refunded after the workshop is completed. If this is an obstacle for registering, please contact Program Coordinator, Sara Robertson.)

    St. Croix River Institute - June 26-28, 2017
    Participants - Click here for St. Croix River Institute locations

    Apply for the St. Croix River Institute

    Mississippi River Institute - July 24-26, 2017
    Participants -Click here for Mississippi River Institute locations  

    Apply for the Mississippi River Institute

    “Becoming a learner as a teacher in the Rivers Institute was immensely important, because I put myself in my students’ shoes. I now understand how active field investigations can scaffold and further deepen knowledge of science and related subjects.”

    ~5th Grade Teacher, Rivers Institute Participant

    Our natural affinity to water makes rivers and watersheds a useful and familiar context for teaching and learning. Join us this summer, as Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education (CGEE) presents its acclaimed Rivers Institute, a three day field-based professional development opportunity that inspires, educates, and prepares 3rd-8th grade teachers to engage students in STEM disciplines through hands-on, inquiry-based investigations at local watersheds.

    Standards-informed Rivers Institutes are designed to increase teachers' knowledge in water related content, enhance STEM-focused investigation skills, expand literacy skills, and help area educators translate professional experiences into meaningful, engaging classroom investigations for students.

    The focus for the institutes is on elementary and middle school classroom teachers, as well as science specialists and teams of teachers. All educators are welcome to apply.

    Through their work in a Rivers Institute, participants will:

    1. Understand the teaching and learning opportunities represented by their watershed; 

    2. Learn specific social science and natural science content relevant to the river; 

    3. Explore the natural overlap between science processes, literacy skills, inquiry and STEM integration, and engineering design;

    4. Engage in critical thinking and real life application of skills and knowledge that lends itself to interdisciplinary system of thinking;

    5. Investigate existing resources and programs to enrich their teaching.

    Activities to Accomplish
    During the River Institute experience, participants will:

    • Explore the watershed from the vantage point of the water while in a paddle boat; 

    • Articulate field investigations through accurate, richly described scientific observations; 

    • Create and utilize science notebooks;

    • Participate in learning activities utilizing Waters to the Sea*, and Project WET materials, as well as several other classroom resources and tools; 

    • Participate in inquiry-based investigations of flood plain forests, unique geology features, macro-invertebrates, and engineering with water in mind;

    • Share strategies for helping students ‘think like a scientist,’ ‘design like an engineer,’ and ‘write like an author.’  

    waterstothesealogoWaters to the Sea
    Rivers Institutes participants will receive and explore Waters to the Sea, a suite of award-winning multimedia learning modules that help students grades 4-8 understand critical water issues through engaging stories and visualizations. This educational resource is accompanied by an instructional companion for teachers use in elementary and middle school settings.

    Rivers Institutes take place over three days, with pre- and post-course components. Participants interact directly with professionals working on the river to investigate how concepts taught and experienced in the field can be directly transferred to classroom practice. Core concepts in science, engineering and literacy will be introduced and explored, as well as strategies for integrating curriculum using the river as a context for learning. 

    What else? 
    Each Rivers Institute participant will receive:

    • Three full days of experiential instruction and lunches;
    • 21 CEUs (including hours in the areas of reading preparation and technology);
    • The Waters to the Sea multimedia tool and additional resources for your classroom;
    • The option to purchase two graduate-level credits at a reduced rate of $179/credit;
    • The option to purchase a Project WET curriculum guide and become Project WET certified.

    Full scholarships are provided for teachers admitted to the program.
    Scholarship assistance for the 2017 Rivers Institutes is provided, in part, through the generous financial assistance of Andersen Corporate Foundation, Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation, and the Meraux Foundation. With their ongoing support we enable hundreds of teachers to improve the way they understand and teach science, and help thousands of students connect with the natural world.

    2017 Rivers Institutes Options:  

    St. Croix River Institute
    June 26-28, 2017
    8am-4pm daily

    Mississippi River Institute
    July 24-26, 2017
    8am-4pm daily 

    Online Application

     Institute Participant Documents:

    Multimedia Links: 



    If you have any questions, contact Sara Robertson at srobertson01@hamline.edu or 651-523-2895.

    Looking for the Trinity River Institute for Texas teachers, or the Mississippi Delta River Institute for Louisiana teachers?

    Learn about the other Teacher Professional Development opportunities at the Center for Global Environmental Education.

    Students engaged at the St. Croix River Institute

    CGEE - St. Croix Rivers Institute 2011 - 286X381

    "I’m very glad that I had the experience of The Rivers Institute. It is a wonderful opportunity for educators to dive into hands-on science activities ...I feel much more confident that I can plan and facilitate outdoor learning after experiencing it myself, and I’m totally excited to try engineering with my students."(Grade 5 Teacher --Rivers Institute Participant 2013)

  • CGEE Logo - Hamline University