Fall 2021 Workshops

Wednesday, September 1st

Environmental Education and MN's New Science Standards

Part 1: Introduction


John Olson, Community Faculty - Science Education at Metropolitan State University, Retired Science Specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education

Pete Cleary, Environmental Education Director at Dodge Nature Center

Primary Audience: Nonformal Educators

Teach Outdoors! MN is hosting a series of workshops on the new Science Standards to give environmental educators the information and support they need to successfully integrate the new standards into their programs.

Participants will learn the nuts and bolts of the new standards, including an understanding of phenomena-based learning, as well as the timeline for their implementation in schools. The sessions will also provide examples of what these standards look like in practice.

Bring your questions as well as ideas to share with others.


Resources from the Chat:

John Olson

Pete Cleary

Joe Walewski

September 8th: Teach Outdoors! MN

New School Year Kick-Off!

Presenters: Joe Walewski, Director of Naturalist Training & Sue Mohn, Naturalist and Elementary Educator

Primary Audience: K-12 Educators

We know this year proves to be another bumpy ride, so jump on board and create your own adventure! We welcome everyone to embark on our Teach Outdoors! MN weekly webinar series starting Wednesday, September 8th from 4-5pm

We want to check in with you and see how it is going. How might we best support your efforts to take your students outside and connect your curriculum with the natural world around you? Bring your requests for support in teaching outdoors, and any topics you'd like to learn more about through future workshops.

We’ll be highlighting ways to set up your outdoor classroom along with activities to leverage learning in all content areas.

As an extra bonus for attending LIVE, Jeffers Foundation will send you a hard copy of their new publication, Good Sense, an outdoor educator’s guide to sensory activities!


Improv Games:

  1. Point at a thing and call it what it is. The partner says, "yes that's a (whatever it is)". Then switch. This is simple and emphasizes looking around us to see all the diversity in our world no matter where we are.

  2. Point at a thing and call it what a different thing in your space is. Example, I might point at a rock and say it's a tree. My partner would then say "yes, that's a tree" even though it is clearly a rock. Then my partner needs to locate a tree and point at it and call it what something else in our space is. Example, point at a tree - the thing last mentioned - and say, "this is a cloud". My partner would then say, "yes that's a cloud", while pointing at the tree. This game requires that we pay attention to other things in our space while also paying attention to the last thing mentioned. It's also a step into creativity.

  3. Point at a thing and call it what you can imagine. Example, while pointing at a rock, I might say, "this is a sleeping dragon". My partner would then say, "yes, that's a dragon" while acting in an appropriate way they would around a sleeping dragon. That might be to pet the rock, to tiptoe away, to scream and run,... whatever. Pure creativity!

Sue Mohn

Sue Mohn

September 15th:

Environmental Education and MN's New Science Standards

Part 2: Diving Deeper

Presenters: Sue Mohn, Naturalist and Elementary Educator & Molly Stoddard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Prairie Wetlands Learning Center

Primary Audience: Nonformal Educators

Teach Outdoors! MN is hosting a series of workshops on the new Science Standards to give environmental educators the information and support they need to successfully integrate the new standards into their programs.

This session will focus on diving deeper into the new science standards and exploring examples of them being implemented into lessons.

Molly Stoddard

Prairie Wetlands Learning Center Logo
National Wildlife Refuge System Logo

September 22nd:

Nature study meets 3D teaching

Presenters: David Grack, Jeffers Foundation

Primary Audience: K-12 Educators

Join us on September 22nd as we work as scientists to uncover concepts that connect core ideas in both science and engineering. Experience how easy it can be to add a little EcoTime to your instructional toolkit while implementing the new Minnesota Science Standards…Outdoors of course!


Activity Tree-mendous Schoolyard Survey

Activity: Weathering Walk

Greeting: Good Morning, Cirrus

NGSS 8 Practices of Sci and Engineering

The Three Dimensions

Treemendous Schoolyard Survey

David Grack

David Grack

Jeffers Foundation Logo

September 29th:

Teaching Outdoors! Minnesota

On the Road (School Tours)

Featured School: Eisenhower Elementary

Educators: Abby Larson and Lisa Hake

Primary Audience: K-12 Educators

Follow on Twitter: @Hop_MrsHake @AbbyLarson270

Learning in the Park (article)

Hopkins school program allows kids to learn outdoors (Kare 11)

October 6th:

Bird is the Word! Bird Education Programs with Hawk Ridge

Presenters: Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

Janelle Long, Executive Director and Margie Menzies, Education Program Director

Primary Audience: PreK-12 Educators

Bird is the Word with Hawk Ridge! One of nature’s most remarkable spectacles can be witnessed each fall and spring with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Migrating birds, originating from summer breeding areas as far north as the Arctic and with wintering destinations as far south as points in South America, concentrate in impressive numbers at the western tip of Lake Superior during the fall and spring. Learning about birds is a great way to connect to the natural world. Hawk Ridge has showcased this for over 50 years through a variety of education programs offered for students of every age! Join Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory Executive Director, Janelle Long, and Education Director, Margie Menzies, to learn about the history, bird conservation research, education programs, and inspiring stories of the beauty and birds of Hawk Ridge.

Brief Bios of Speakers:

Janelle Long has served as the Executive Director at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory since 2007. She received her M.Ed. in Environmental Education at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a B.S. in Wildlife Management and Biology at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. She enjoys bridging the bird conservation research, education, and stewardship components through her career with Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. Janelle resides in Duluth, MN with her husband and 3 children.

Margie joined the Hawk Ridge staff as a Naturalist in 2011 and currently is the Education Program Director for Hawk Ridge. Providing naturalist programming for the general public furnishes many colorful and meaningful experiences every day on the job. She loves birds, learning, and sharing the natural world with people of all ages. She has a BA in Biology from Bethel University, and a MA in Education from University of St. Thomas. In addition to her Hawk Ridge adventures she also is the Naturalist at Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center up the North Shore in Schroeder, MN during the summer, and is an adjunct member of the University of Minnesota, Duluth Education Department working primarily with student teacher supervision.

Janelle Long

Margie Menzies

October 27th:

Teaching Outdoors! Minnesota

On the Road (School Tours)

Educators: Leah Bulver (2nd-3rd grade) and Jen Heyer (3rd grade)

Featured School: Highlands Elementary

Primary Audience: PreK-12 Educators

These fabulous teachers have several years of experience teaching outdoors with students from different grade levels. They also have experience implementing “Wilderness Wednesdays” and TimberNook (several Highlands teachers went through TimberNook training this past summer). Bring your questions!

Follow on Twitter: @leah_bulver @heyerlearning

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HLHappenings


Leah Bulver

Jen Heyer

November 10th:


Presenter: Alan Holzer, Interpretive Naturalist, Three Rivers Park District Mississippi Gateway Regional Park

Join Naturalist Alan Holzer to learn more about the BEETLES project and how you can apply it to your work as an educator.

About the BEETLES project: BEETLES: Infusing outdoor science programs with research-based approaches and tools to improve science teaching and learning.

Our professional learning resources are designed for program leaders to use with field instructors. They provide experiences and rationale about outdoor science instruction designed to inspire instructors to improve their teaching. Our student activities inspire students’ wonder and curiosity about the natural world, support their innate tendencies for exploration and guide them to make explanations based on evidence.

BEETLES Project Website

Alan Holzer

Laura Duffey

December 1st:

Teaching With Respect and Knowledge: PLT Dakota and Ojibwe Lessons

Link to PowerPoint Presentation

Presenters: Laura Duffey, Minnesota DNR

Primary Audience: PreK-12 Educators

The Minn. Dept. of Education added academic standards to help students understand our Dakota and Ojibwe roots. While educators can choose from several new lessons, we all want to make sure we are teaching with respect and knowledge. Laura Duffey, the Project Learning Tree coordinator at the DNR, has been helping to guide educators as we learn to approach indigenous cultures respectfully. This session will focus on Minnesota’s indigenous history and provide lessons and tools to use with students.

December 8th:

Teaching Outdoors! Minnesota

On the Road (School Tours)

Featured School: Prairie Science Class: Partnership between Prairie Wetlands Learning Center & Fergus Falls Public Schools

Educators: Tia Thysell, Mona Davis, Molly Stoddard

Primary Audience: PreK-12 Educators


PowerPoint Presentation