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Summer Institutes

Teacher training on Cary's 2,000 acre campus and nearby field sites.

In addition to exposure to the Cary Institute's scientific staff, participants are given the opportunity to strengthen their analytical skills and learn methods of integrating ecosystem concepts into their lesson plans.

Ecosystem Literacy Initiative: Inquiry in the Woods

Summer Institute for K-12th Grade Teachers

Monday, August 12th-Friday, August 16th, 9am-3:30pm

Join Cary Educators for a week of hands-on learning about trees as a site for inquiry. You'll gain the knowledge, resources and tools to create engaging NYSSLS-aligned learning experiences that seamlessly integrate Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science & Engineering Practices. Participate in schoolyard protocols investigating trees and forests to illuminate ecological principles, biodiversity, nutrient cycling and ecosystem services of forests. You’ll get outdoors and engage in field investigations about trees and learn how to use a forest plot for a wide array of hands-on science, art integration and authentic engagement in 3D learning. Activities will focus on grades 3-8, but educators of all levels are welcome.

Join scientists and educators from the Cary Institute to:

  • Develop skills in creating hands-on scientific investigations in your schoolyard where students are able to collect, analyze, and interpret meaningful data.

  • Learn how to support students in developing conceptual modeling skills connected to the cycling of matter and flow of energy through ecosystems.

  • Build confidence in facilitating artistic observational techniques to deepen students’ understanding of trees and other science phenomena.

  • Connect with other educators in the region and find inspiration for incorporating hands-on investigations into existing curriculum.

Who should attend?

Teachers of grades K-12, informal educators and teacher educators are all welcome.

Where will the workshop take place?

The Summer Institute will take place mainly at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.  Housing is available for a fee; contact us for more information. 

Credit: You can obtain 35 hours of professional development credits.

Cost:  $500; registration covers the cost of snacks, coffee, materials, tuition, and activities.  Please bring your own lunch for each day of the program. 

Scholarships: Cost should not be a barrier to participation. If you are interested in attending but do not have funding through your school, please contact Rebecca Van Tassell (

Deadlines: Space is limited so register early. Registration closes July 1st or when space is full.

For more information:  Contact Rebecca Van Tassell (

Reimagining the Water Cycle without Reinventing the Wheel

Workshop for 3rd-12th grade science educators

Monday, August 5th – Friday, August 9th, 9am-3:30pm

Did you miss last year's summer institute, and wish you could have attended? Well you have another chance!

Join Ulster BOCES and the Cary Institute for a week-long workshop focused on water, where you'll gain the knowledge, resources, and tools to create engaging NYSSLS-aligned learning experiences that seamlessly integrate Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science & Engineering Practices. Collaborate with fellow educators, scientists, and community partners to explore activities, field trips, and expert-led sessions that help students understand groundwater, watersheds, and New York State's geological history. Leave with a better understanding of New York's water resources, a practical toolkit, and the confidence to inspire your students in the NGSS era, all while connecting with other passionate educators.

This workshop is crafted to assist in the transition to NYSSLS, encompassing Elementary, Intermediate, and High School Investigations, as well as science assessments, including the latest Regents exams.

We'll kick off the week at the Cary Institute (2801 Sharon Turnpike, Millbrook, NY 12545), meet at Ulster BOCES from Tuesday to Thursday, and wrap up at the Cary Institute on Friday.

Where: Cary Institute, Millbrook, NY & Ulster BOCES, New Paltz, NY

Credit: 35 hours of professional development credits.

Cost: The fee to attend for subscribers to the Environmental Education CoSer (410) is $250.00.

Deadline: Teachers should register through My Learning Plan. Space is limited. Registration closes July 15th.  

For more information:  Contact Rebecca Van Tassell (


Previous participants in our summer programs have said...

This was a workshop that will cause changes to take place in my classroom! Thank you!


MS science teacher

It was great to be involved with the scientists here and to work with the other teachers, sharing our collective wisdom.


High school LE teacher

Great workshop. I do a lot of workshops and institutes and this was one of the best for me!


High school earth science teacher

I learned more in one week than in an entire semester. Thank you!


Middle school teacher

Thanks so much, it was great! We received so much information and examples of activities. I enjoyed learning how to integrate data collection into my classroom.


Elementary teacher