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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: Modeling Our Watersheds

Summer Institute for 5-12th Grade Teachers

Monday, August 14th-Friday, August 18th, 9 am – 4:30 pm.

A week of hands-on, cutting-edge inquiry based science focusing on water and watersheds. We’ll answer the questions: How does water move in the environment? How does this understanding help us explain and predict impacts of climate change and other human activities on water quality and flooding in freshwater streams and rivers? We’ll take a deep dive into the various pathways and forces at play as water flows into, within and out of watersheds, and the processes that add or remove substances along the way. Come explore hands-on investigations and conceptual, physical and computational models that will engage you and your students in 3D learning.

Join scientists and educators from the Cary Institute to:

  • Build 3D understanding of the processes that move water and substances from the landscape into streams and other water bodies
  • Learn about the impact of landscape features on the movement of water and pollutants
  • Learn how to use a computational model to predict flooding in a watershed
  • Conduct an investigation into the hydrology of your school yard and learn how to integrate scientific inquiry and data into your classroom.
  • Connect with other teachers in the region.

Who should attend?

Teachers of grades 5-12 are welcome.  

Where will the workshop take place?

The Summer Institute will take place mainly at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY, with possible field trips to local streams and wetlands.  Housing is available for a fee; contact us for more information. 

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

Cost:  $300; 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. Register by August 1st or when space is full.


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