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Nancy Streeter and Georgia Jeppesen, from the Education and Outreach department of NCTC work with Patuxent NWR educator Maria Vonderheid and Rosemont Elementary School teachers as they plan their program

Professional Development

Providing teacher training, through national or local resources, is critical to provide a high quality, innovative program. Workshops provide valuable opportunities for teachers and nonformal educators to develop relationships and share experiences with peers. "It's an energizing time for educators to work together," says one teacher upon returning from a workshop at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepardstown, WV; "a time to work with other adults and solve problems together."

NCTC offers numerous workshops for formal and infomal educators however site-specific workshops are encouraged. The followin are suggestions for leadership teams who are developing local workshops.

Compile List of Needs:
Local leadership team should consider developing a site specifiic training that introduces teachers to the program's unique formate and unique characteristics of the refuge as well as familurizing educators with lessons and activities to be taught throughout the program. For the leadership team, the best place to start is identifying training needs.

To identify training needs, leaders are encouraged to use surveys, interviews and other organized methods. Take a look at the following models for ideas.
  • Sample Needs Assessment Questionnaire
  • Inquiry Survey

    Identify Local Resources for Professional Development
  • Research organizations that best meet your training needs
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Local University- Extension Offices (4-H)
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Local Education NonProfits like Earth Force
  • Can they complete the task?
  • Can you afford this resource?


  • Prioritize Training Needs:
    Compiling criteria used for prioritizing the identified training needs is necessary
    useful and to keep the leadership team and program focused. If the group comes up with several choices, prioritize what is most valuable and immediate for a site-specific training.

    What is meant by criteria?
    This could mean anything from time limits to primary audience. Take a look at the following examples:

    The teacher training will:
    • Focus towards new teachers
    • Cover in class and out of class lessons
    • Last no longer that three days in the summer
    • Offer 3 continuing education credits to teachers
    Teachers from Rosemont Elementary School plan out their schoolyard habitat with assistance from NCC teacger trainer, Georgia Jeppesen.
    Develop Local Workshops:
    When developing a site specific workshop or training considering the following questions:
    • Who is the audience? Teachers? Volunteers? Parents? Resource Specialists?

    • What is the timeframe to complete this task?

    • If long term, what steps can be taken to achieve this goal?

    • How will this workshop be used and modified in the future?

    • Who will provide the training? FWS/Teachers/Non-Profit/ State Org./ Friends

    • Where will we hold the training?

    • How long will it take and when is the best time for partners to attend?
    Sewee Sample Agenda for teacher training


    Tips and Suggestions for Workshops and Training:
  • Promote correlation to district standards
  • Provide continuing education credits for educators
  • Coordinate with local school district in-service days
  • Avoid weekends
  • Provide lots of treats, "give-aways" for classrooms and general resources like CDís and books
  • Offer at minimal costs

  • Suggested Topics, in addition to science content workshops:
    • Grant writing
    • Scientific methods for data collection and monitoring projects
    • Evaluation for Environmental Education
    • Service-Learning techniques and resources
    • Volunteer training
    • Integrating technology into the program


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    Last updated: October 7, 2008
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