Science and Teaching for Field Instructors

2015 Leadership Institutes

December 2017 Leadership Institute

December 10-15, 2017
Petaluma, California

BEETLES helps outdoor science programs take full advantage of the rich opportunities for science learning in the outdoors. Learning science outdoors can be a unique, often transformational experience. Outdoor instructors need different tools and approaches than those designed for classrooms or other contexts. All our resources support the ambitious goals of the Next Generation Science Standards, and are designed to help create more student-centered and nature-centered experiences. We’ve tested and implemented these resources with programs all over the U.S (and beyond!). Now, we’re excited to invite you to our sixth Leadership Institute.

img_7151The Leadership Institute will build participants’ leadership expertise to incorporate effective practices into professional learning experiences for their staffs. We’ll model a variety of resources for professional learning and student experiences, as well as provide opportunities for program leaders to share expertise and build their own capacity for program improvement. Throughout the week, we aim to inspire exploration, deep understanding, wonder, and critical thinking in program leaders.

This Institute is open to 2 leaders (one person in a director/administrative role and one education director/lead instructor responsible for staff professional learning) from each of 20 selected programs across the country. We encourage leaders from underrepresented groups and programs who serve underrepresented groups to apply.

Our commitment to you:

  • 6 days of shared professional learning
  • Access professional learning sessions and student activities that demonstrate and support research-based professional learning concepts
  • Ongoing support for implementation during the next year (via regular webinars and an online community)
  • A community of national environmental education leaders willing to share resources and expertise
  • Delicious meals and lodging
  • All free of charge, including a travel stipend

Your commitment to us:

  • 6 days of sharing your time, focus, creative energy, and expertise
  • Attendance by 2 influential leaders at your program
  • Make and carry out a plan to implement BEETLES approaches and resources in your program
  • Participate in BEETLES-related evaluation and research activities

participants in 2014 Leadership InstituteJoin us for deep experiences, thought-provoking discussions, camaraderie and a beautiful California setting.

Still have questions? Contact the BEETLES team: | (510) 642-7504


P.S. BEETLES is delighted that we’ll have the opportunity to work with 100 programs over three years through five week-long, residential Leadership Institutes. Future Institute Dates will include:
August & December 2018 | August 2019

NSF Logo

All five Leadership Institutes and associated research are funded by the National Science Foundation’s Advancing Informal Science Learning program.

Thank you for your interest

Applications are now closed

Quotes from Previous Participants:

“THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so so so excited. This was like manna from the heavens, exactly what I have been looking for, the best PD that I have been to. It was like a whole year of grad school in a week…Thoughtful, amazing, innovative, impactful, applicable, exciting… I’m blown away. I have so much to think about and consider personally and organizationally…. Truly life changing for me.”

“The sense of community between fellow [outdoor science programs] was incredible. I had never been in a situation like this before, where networking was an incredibly useful by-product of the conference. The [Institute] provided valuable teaching on pedagogy that I was unfamiliar with, and it was presented in a way that was highly enjoyable, entertaining, and challenging, all rolled into one.”

About the Research:

These Institutes are part of a comprehensive, two-part research project:
Part 1 is an Implementation Study to examine the ways that program leaders incorporate BEETLES materials into their programs. Every program accepted into a BEETLES Institute is encouraged to take part in this research through surveys of program leaders and education staff and, potentially, other research-related activities. The maximum research-related time commitment for program leaders is 6 hours over the course of a year and, for field instructors, 3 hours. All programs will be asked to participate in the Implementation Study.

Part 2 is an Efficacy Study to examine the extent to which outdoor learning experiences impact science learning activation and environmental literacy among students. Starting in 2019, 50 participating programs will be randomly selected to participate. This study will require program leaders to administer student surveys before, during, and after a program to 25 total students. Our research team will coordinate these research related activities. The maximum research-related time commitment for students in this study is 1hr, 40 minutes. For field instructors, it is 30 minutes. The only requirement of program leaders in this study is to support coordinating data collection.

The research team will reach out to participating leaders to further describe the research and what may be asked of you.

12 Responses to “December 2017 Leadership Institute”

Annie P. HowellNovember 16th, 2016 at 9:19 pm

I am interested in learning more about your program. I am an informal educator at Eno River State Park, working towards my EE certification. This seems like a great opportunity to expand my program leadership skills.

Thank you,


Jedda ForemanNovember 16th, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Hi, Annie,

We’d love to share more information with you. Feel free to reach out (contact info above) with specific questions, etc.


Jedda ForemanNovember 28th, 2016 at 6:35 pm

Hi, Taryn,

Unfortunately, no. This Institute is for informal outdoor science and environmental education organizations, not classroom teachers.


Kathy AmbrosiniNovember 28th, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Could you give me an idea of the types of content covered over the 6 days? It will help me understand which staff should attend.

I assume travel costs are up to the individual organization? Any other fees or costs to be aware of?

Jedda ForemanNovember 28th, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Hi, Kathy,

The Institute is geared towards program leaders. Take a look at some of our professional learning sessions to get a sense for some of the content. In addition to modeling some of those sessions, we’ll also have time to discuss NGSS, coaching and reflective teaching, creating regional collaboratives, and a variety of other topics/questions that participants raise.

In terms of travel, we’ll be providing a per person travel stipend (exact amount to be determined, between $400-$500/person), but organizations will have to cover the upfront travel costs (travel stipends will be disbursed immediately following the Institute). Once participants arrive in California, we’ll provide a shuttle to the Institute location, cover all room/board during the Institute, and provide a return shuttle to the airport. There are no other fees or costs.

Please reach out if you have any other questions.

Jeremy PhillipsDecember 6th, 2016 at 6:33 pm


I was wondering about the December 2017 workshop and when the signups would occur. Unfortunately I will not be available in August.


Jedda ForemanDecember 6th, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Hey Jeremy,
Good question! We’ll open up applications to the December 2017 Institute in mid-January (right after we close this application period).


LauraApril 1st, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Would the travel occur on December 9 in order to start the workshop sessions on December 10? For returning, do the sessions finish at the end of the day on Dec. 15 so participants would travel back on Dec. 16?

Jedda ForemanApril 19th, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Hi, Laura,
We try to coordinate times so that people can arrive and leave on the first and last days. This doesn’t always work out for some people traveling to/from small airports or from particularly far away, but for the most part it does.

AliciaApril 20th, 2017 at 6:01 pm

I am very interested in this PD opportunity. Do you think it would be appropriate for someone working at a zoo (specifically- would it be relevant for our 5th and 6th grade school outreach programs)?

Jedda ForemanApril 21st, 2017 at 7:12 pm

Hi, Alicia,

Yes, we are definitely open to working with zoo programs. Some resources might not be directly applicable, but lots of them will be. Let me know if you have specific questions.

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