• 2019 Rivers Institutes featuring
    Waters to the Sea

    Free for Educators!

    St. Croix River Institute - June 24-26, 2019
    Participants - Click here for St. Croix Locations

    Apply for the St. Croix River Institute

    Mississippi River Institute - July 22-24, 2019
    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;
    • 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 $190/credit

    The 2019 Rivers Institutes is provided, in part, through the generous financial assistance of 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.

    2019 Rivers Institutes Options:  

    St. Croix River Institute
    June 24-26, 2019
    8am-4pm daily

    Mississippi River Institute
    July 22-24, 2019
    8am-4pm daily 

     2017 Institute Participant Documents for Reference: 

    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)

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