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Research Experiences for Teachers (BIORETS)

Providing the opportunity for middle and high school teachers to engage in authentic research with Cary scientists.

Engaging teachers in ecosystem science for a changing world.

The Research Experiences for Teachers (BIORETS) program at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, located in Millbrook, NY, will support 9 teachers for 6 weeks during the summer and an additional 2.3 weeks during the academic year. Through collaborative research projects and professional development activities that promote reflection, teamwork, and teacher leadership, the Cary BIORETS program aims to enhance teacher capacity to build the ecological knowledge of their students and increase their proficiency with science practices.

This program will cultivate and support teacher leadership that extends its impact beyond the immediate confines of participating teachers' classrooms. Each teacher will produce instructional materials and contribute to an education publication based on their research and experiences. They will have the opportunity to attend regional or national conferences and be supported in conducting workshops within their schools to share their innovative curricula and other knowledge generated from their BIORETS experience.

Although the formal program lasts for one year, our program will establish a lasting connection between teachers and scientists committed to promoting ecological literacy locally and nationwide. 

Applications due March 15, 2024


Through the Cary BIORETS program teachers will:

  • Increase their knowledge of ecology
  • Develop their skills in conducting original research, including research design, implementation, and data analysis
  • Increase their knowledge of effective pedagogy and curriculum design for building ecological and data literacy
  • Be part of a collaborative community of middle and high school teachers, scientists and educational researchers.

Cary BIORETS includes:

  • Six weeks of collaborative summer research in the field of ecology
  • Four virtual school-year follow up sessions to support implementation of new curriculum 
  • A culminating in-person, two-day writing workshop to support teachers in publishing their work
  • Mentorship by Cary Scientists
  • Collaborative professional learning opportunities
  • Support to present at a regional conference or national conference
  • Funding for purchasing classroom materials

Eligibility requirements

Teachers who are eligible: 

  • Work as a middle or high school teacher in a STEM field (including biology, Earth science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, engineering)
  • Have worked in a classroom for at least one year
  • Have an interest in increasing your and your students’ ecological literacy
  • Be able to commit to the entirety of the program, including teaching new curriculum materials

We are particularly interested in teachers who: 

  • Work with historically marginalized and underserved students
  • Work in under-resourced schools, including those in rural and urban communities.
  • Have limited access to professional learning opportunities 
  • Want to engage in the translation of cutting edge research into meaningful learning experiences for students


Teachers will receive a $8,800 stipend for full participation in the program. This supports your summer research work, school year follow up sessions, work time to implement new curriculum, participation in evaluation surveys, participating in the writing workshop and travel and expenses for presenting at a regional or national conference.

Application deadline: March 15, 2024 

Finalists will be contacted in late March for an interview.

Program Timeline: 

March 15, 2024Application Deadline
Late March, 2024Applicant Interviews
Early April, 2024Applicant Selection Notification
July 1, 2024 - August 13, 2024Summer Research & Curriculum Development (Holiday on July 4 & 5)
2024-2025 School YearFour virtual follow up Sessions (Dates TBD, based on participant availability)
June 2025In-person Writing Retreat (Date TBD, based on participant availability)



Contact Rebecca Van Tassell, BIORETS Program Coordinator, at