New York's Great Lakes: Ecosystem Education Exchange
Place Based Education and Stewardship

Subtopics on this page: Place Based Education and StewardshipRemote Stewardship Resources

Place Based Education and Stewardship back to top

Bay Watershed Education and Training- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) is an environmental education program that promotes locally relevant, experiential learning in the K-12 environment. 

Creating Stewards of the Great Lakes
This report reviews the literature about place-based education and explains the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative’s integrated model, which incorporates place-based education, sustained professional development for teachers, and school-community partnerships.

Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom
The Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom provides experiential learning opportunities that promote academic achievement, environmental literacy, and lifelong relationships with the waterways that define our communities. The Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom has provided hands-on learning opportunities in the interest of sustaining Finger Lakes waterways for future generations, offering "eco-cruises' on Cayuga Lake (May-October), "Trout in the Classroom" (October - May) and a variety of stream-based field trips.

Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program 
The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) is a volunteer lake monitoring and education program managed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Federation of Lake Associations. 

Connect Kids to Parks
New York State Parks will accept the National Park Service’s Every-Kid-in-a Park pass upon presentation for free entry for 4th grade students into all State Parks in 2017. The pass will also be accepted at state historic sites for the pass holder and up to 3 adults for house tour fees. This is a pilot program as part of a series of initiatives to encourage youth visitation to state parks, historic sites and public lands. Fourth grade students can obtain and print their pass at

Connect Kids to Parks; Transportation Grant Program
State Parks has launched a grant program to provide transportation funding assistance to K-12 classrooms in Title 1 schools and BOCES schools across the state to connect New York public school children with nature and New York State history by providing reimbursement grants to public schools for visit state land for a special guided educational program or self-guided field trip.  Learn more about eligibility and how to apply. 

Creating a School Yard Pollinator Habitat
This unit project plan is designed to engage students in a place-based exploration of their local habitat, culminating in designing and planning a schoolyard habitat that supports local pollinators. Schoolyard habitats benefit wildlife and provide meaningful teaching and learning experiences in an outdoor classroom laboratory, which empowers student stewardship of the land through habitat restoration and protection.

Discovery Agents
Discovery Agents is an educational technology platform empowering students to create their own augmented reality mobile games, for kids 6 to 14 years of age. It combines physical activity and technology in a relevant and innovative way that speaks to kids in a language they understand.

Earth Force 
Earth Force offers three water-focused programs that incorporate the Community Action and Problem-Solving Process to lead young people through investigation to action around their community’s waterways. 

eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year by eBirders around the world. eBird data document bird distribution, abundance, habitat use, and trends through checklist data collected within a simple, scientific framework. Birders enter when, where, and how they went birding, and then fill out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. eBird’s free mobile app allows offline data collection anywhere in the world, and the website provides many ways to explore and summarize your data and other observations from the global eBird community.

Exploring Haudenosaunee and Scientific Perspectives
The Ecology and History of Onondaga Lake: Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address as a pathway to stewardship education in the Onondaga Lake Watershed; The purpose is to explore and test a new curriculum about scientific and traditional ecological knowledge, focusing on Onondaga Lake and structured around the Thanksgiving Address and its values of gratitude and reciprocity. Participants will try out lesson plans, explore field trip locations, and brainstorm potential projects that could extend the learning outcomes to their schools or colleges.

Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program
The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program is an international science and education program that provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process, and contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth system and global environment. 

Great Lakes Adopt a Beach

For more than 25 years, our Adopt-a-Beach program has worked to keep Great Lakes shorelines healthy, safe, and beautiful. The program is largest of it’s kind in the region. Adopt-a-Beach touches all five Great Lakes with volunteers from all eight Great Lakes states.

Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative
The Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative was launched in 2007 in Michigan to develop knowledgeable and active stewards of the Great Lakes and their ecosystems through place-based studies and explorations in local communities. 

iMapInvasives an online reporting and data management tool used to track invasive species. The goal of the program is to assist natural resource professionals and citizen scientists by advancing their knowledge of species distributions across NY and to provide a tool which stores both location and management details. Invasive species can be reported on smart phones, tablets and other devices using the iMapInvasives Mobile App. is a place where you can record what you see in nature, meet other nature lovers, and learn about the natural world. 

Provides the opportunity for educators to borrow actual monitoring equipment used by scientists in the field and for students to experience collecting and analyzing real water-quality data. It is a great way to bring to life the topic of water quality for your students, and has curriculum ideas for you to bring the outdoors to your classroom or your classroom outdoors.

Marine Debris Art Contest
The NOAA Marine Debris Art Contest is for all students in grades Kindergarten through 8th grade from all U.S. states and territories– all recognized public, private, and home schools are eligible to participate. The mission of the NOAA Marine Debris Program is to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris.

National Phenology Network Natures Notebook Curriculum  
Observing phenology through Nature's Notebook offers place-based, hands-on learning opportunities, provides a collaborative platform for site-based educators, promotes cross-subject engagement while addressing standards of learning, and can be used to identify and answer local scientific research questions addressed by many natural resource, volunteer and gardening groups. Phenology is an excellent lens for teaching about the natural world.  

Plastic Pollution Curriculum and Activity Guide
Features a variety of lesson plans for K-12 teachers and educators on plastics pollution

Promise of Place
A unique public private partnership that works to advance the state of the art in place-based education by facilitating collaborative efforts in research, program design, technical assistance, resource development and dissemination. This website has a comprehensive list of resources related to place-based education, including scholarly publications, curriculum documents, results of evaluations, links to organizations, and FAQs.

SciStarter; Science we can do together.
SciStarter is the place to find, join, and contribute to science through more than 1600 formal and informal research projects and events. Our database of citizen science projects enables discovery, organization, and greater participation in citizen science. 

Teaching in the Field
This website exists to facilitate interactions and sharing that will: enable NAGT sections to learn from one another in order to elevate the quality of their field offerings around the country, promote models for effective educational field trips to geoscientists around the world, and provide an archive of field guides furthering the ability of K-12 teachers, faculty, community groups, and others to lead scientifically accurate, pedagogically effective field trips.

School Seedling Program
NYSDEC's School Seedling Program provides New York State students with the experience of planting and caring for a tree seedling, which can help young people learn about the natural world and the value of trees in it. All schools may participate - Any school sponsored organization is also eligible. Planting can be related to a wide variety of scholastic programs - it is not confined to any given subject, purpose or age level.

Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide
A planning guide for creating schoolyard habitat and outdoor classroom projects created by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Schoolyard Habitat Program. This is your guidebook to transforming your school grounds into a place that engages the entire school community in habitat restoration. It will take you and your students through each step of the process: planning, installing and sustaining a project. This is not a book about why schoolyard projects are important; this is a guide about how to make the best one for your site.

Trout in the Classroom
Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is an environmental education program in which students in grades k-12: raise trout from eggs to fry, monitor tank water quality, engage in stream habitat study, learn to appreciate water resources, begin to foster a conservation ethic and grow to understand ecosystems. Most programs end the year by releasing their trout in a state-approved stream near the school or within a nearby watershed.

Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators 
Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) is citizen-based water quality assessment developed by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The purpose of WAVE is to enable citizen scientists to collect biological data for assessment of water quality on wadeable streams in NY State.

Remote Stewardship Resources  back to top

To help plan out remote stewardship actions with students, NY Sea Grant and NYSDEC developed a list of actions and links for planning these actions. Remote Stewardship Actions (pdf)

Caregiver, parent, and educator resources while at home from NYSDEC

These fun and easy-to-do activities can be used while you explore your own backyard, visit a local park, or walk in the woods—as well as indoors!

While it may be harder for us to dip our toes in the lakes right now, there are lots of ways for you to enjoy and learn about our freshwater seas right from your own home.

Great Lakes Now lesson plans help students explore the Great Lakes, with virtual field trip videos and activities to help them connect with learning materials.

New York Sea Grant Home *  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Home

This website was developed with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund, in support of the Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act of 2006. 

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