Professional Development Web Seminars

Several on-line professional development web seminars were held in 2010 and 2011 to learn about pollinators, gardening, and conservation. These programs have been archived where they can be viewed.


  • Teacher Training Web Seminar: Designing, Planning, and Creating Schoolyard Gardens
    A web seminar was held on February 8, 2011, on “Designing, Planning, and Creating Schoolyard Gardens.” The webinar presented ideas on how to get started and how to use an outdoor classroom to meet education standards.

    Martin Bomar, a parent volunteer at Ashland Elementary School in Prince William County, Virginia, and an employee of the USDA-Farm Service Agency in Washington D.C., will discuss how gardens can be used for hands-on learning opportunities for young students.  The school staff, students, and parents created an Earth Day Garden in spring 2009.  Since then, the garden has provided a growing collaborative, sustainable outdoor teaching environment to satisfy teachers’ and students’ quest for knowledge and provide continuous service-learning opportunities. 

    This garden evolved to ensure the outdoor area would support and enhance concepts within all six grade levels of Virginia’s Science Standards of Learning.  Ten major areas of teaching emphasis were developed in the garden to accomplish this goal: food production, pollinator garden habitat, fruit production, water garden, recycling and composting, soil conservation, weather data recording, outdoor classroom, recreation and reflection, and a sensory garden. With the assistance of many stakeholders, within the school and from the school community, and with the complete buy-in by the school administration, students and teachers were quickly able to “dig in.”

    Mike Hill, landscape architect with the USDA Forest Service, will discuss how to get a schoolyard garden started including deciding where to put the garden, determining how large it will be, dividing responsibilities for who will be involved in planning and planting, involving students, deciding what to grow, and tackling landscape challenges.  Mr. Hill has been centrally involved in developing and caring for a garden at Bailey’s Elementary School in Fairfax County. CLICK HERE to go to the archive of the web seminar.
    Hosted by the National Science Teachers Association

  • Teacher Training Web Seminar: Bees Can Teach Science! Meet Standards by Studying Pollinators in the Field and Classroom
    A web seminar was held on April 13, 2010, about studying pollinators in the field and classroom. Discover Life has several projects to understand plant-insect interactions designed so that everyone can participate and contribute to real science studies. Nature's Partners is an inquiry learning-based curriculum that can be use in the field or classroom.
    Hosted by the National Science Teachers Association

  • Teacher Training Web Seminar: Schoolyard Garden Basics
    A web seminar was held on March 24, 2010, about schoolyard gardens. One way to help pollinators and reconnect today's children to the outdoors is through gardening. Schoolyard gardens can be outdoor classrooms where they hone their academic skills and nurture their innate curiosity and creativity. Eliza Russell and Nicole Rousmaniere from the National Wildlife Federation discussed essential features of schoolyard gardens. Principal Cindy Wrenn discussed how the garden was planned with an instructional focus and the ways it continues to be a central part of the K-5 curriculum. CLICK HERE to go to the archive of the web seminar.
    Hosted by the National Science Teachers Association

  • Administrator Training Web Seminar: Student Achievement and Outdoor Education
    Lifestyle changes over the past decade have had a profound affect on student health, activities, habits, and interests.  School administrators, teachers, parents, and public health officials are growing increasingly concerned at the rising incidences of childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes, and related health problems. Statistics show that teenagers watch television and computer screens seven and a half hours a day on average – and that those who are the heaviest media users do not perform as well at school and are more depressed and more likely to get in trouble.  In contrast, the statistics about young people learning in the outdoors are very positive.  Outdoor learning has a positive impact on student achievement in core subjects. George Mason University Assistant Professor Laurie Harmon, USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Program Specialist Mike Rizo, and Washington, D.C. Principal Dr. Grace Reid will present information on the benefits of gardening and outdoor education. CLICK HERE to go to the archive of the web seminar.
    Hosted by National School Boards Association