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Professional Development

The ENC offers programs geared toward adults who want to learn more about the natural world.

The Environmental Nature Center offers Professional Development and Team-Building workshops at our 5-acre outdoor facility OR we can come to you!  Click on the options below to view details about each program.  To schedule any of the ENC’s professional development programs, please call (949) 645-8489 or email us.

The ENC’s Excellent Educator Series is also a great way to learn exciting hands-on ways to teach children about science and nature. It is held about 9 times a year at the ENC, with options to join in virtually. Check our calendar for these and other scheduled events.

Excellent Educators Series

The ENC’s Excellent Educators series brings all kinds of educators together for fun afternoons and evenings of learning exciting hands-on ways to teach children about science and nature. Everyone is invited! Classroom teachers, outdoor educators, scout leaders, homeschool parents – anyone who wants to be a better educator.

Join us as we model ways of incorporating team-building activities into nature topics.  Team-building is a great way to encourage interactive problem-solving from your students and this process can tie into so many nature themes.

Our workshop will culminate with a light dinner, wine, and s’mores around the fire pit.

Email lori@encenter.org if you’re interested in sponsoring the food for this event.

This time of year is a natural time to reflect on the gratitude we have for Mother Nature’s gifts, including the original stewards of the land that provides us with so much.  Join us as we share ways of incorporating Native American lessons into your curriculum, including how to draft a kid-friendly land acknowledgement.

Afterwards we’ll enjoy a light meal together and share some wine by the campfire before breaking out the marshmallows and skewers to make some s’mores.

Contact Lori@encenter.org if you’d like to sponsor the food for this event.

The engineering design process has become an increasingly important part of how we teach science and problem-solving to our students.  Join us as we showcase ways of building out a STEM lesson the links the design process to various nature topics.

Afterwards we’ll enjoy a light meal together and share some wine by the campfire before breaking out the marshmallows and skewers to make some s’mores!

Contact Lori@encenter.org if you’d like to sponsor the food for this event.

Aren’t we lucky to live in the lush, vibrant, and biodiverse state of California?  Join us as we explore different ways of extracting themes of study related to our great state – from history, to our state emblems, to our parks system.

Afterwards we’ll enjoy a light meal together and share some wine by the campfire before breaking out the marshmallows and skewers to make some s’mores!

Contact Lori@encenter.org if you’d like to sponsor the food for this event.

Legends are often misunderstood as made-up stories to amuse children.  But every legend is based in some truth, and legends are often constructed to help explain some part of the world around us.  Join us as we explore some of the legends and lore behind our native wildlife, and how to incorporate these legends into a multidimensional curriculum.

Afterwards we’ll enjoy a light meal together and share some wine by the campfire before breaking out the marshmallows and skewers to make some s’mores!

Contact Lori@encenter.org if you’d like to sponsor food for this event.

Earth science has so many fun avenues of exploration – from lessons on erosion and rock types, to modeling tectonic plate movement, to building and testing structures that are resistant to earthquakes.  Join us as we crowd-source ideas for making our earth science lessons more hands-on and more fun.

Afterwards we’ll enjoy a light meal together and share some wine by the campfire before breaking out the marshmallows and skewers to make some s’mores!

Contact Lori@encenter.org if you’d like to sponsor food for this event.

As educators, we are all constantly striving to make learning a more equitable and inclusive experience for the diverse group of students we serve. And as we all know – this work is never finished! Join us as we engage in a powerful roundtable discussion about the ways teachers are implementing DEI in their classrooms and share some of the ways the ENC is working towards this goal.

Afterwards we’ll enjoy a light meal together and share some wine by the campfire before breaking out the marshmallows and skewers to make some s’mores!

Contact Lori@encenter.org if you’d like to sponsor the food for this event.

The Share-a-thon is a fun way to celebrate all of our supporting educators from the Excellent Educators Series.  Our goal is to gather together any teachers who attended our workshops throughout the school year and get feedback on what ideas worked, what didn’t, and what they are planning to try in the future.  This is a fun gathering to celebrate YOUR hard work at trying to implement what you learned from the ENC.  Teachers will be expected to informally present, share photos, or bring examples of student work.

We’ll enjoy a light meal together and have a Champagne toast!  This event is FREE for ENC members and any teachers who have attended more than one Teacher’s Night Out workshop this year.

Contact Lori@encenter.org if you’d like to sponsor the food or wine for this event.

Professional Development Workshops

Are you looking for an engaging, hands-on workshop for your weekly faculty meeting?  Or are you wanting to offer your teachers a unique professional development experience on an in-service day?  The ENC’s PD team will facilitate a workshop complete with innovative techniques, fun curriculum ideas, and multi-disciplinary connections to the world around us.  All workshops connect to the unifying theme of nature and align with the Next Generation Science Standards.  Mini workshop: 75 minutes, $10/teacher; 3 hour workshop: $15/teacher.

This workshop will help teachers with the process of embedding connections to the natural world throughout their curriculum.  Nature is the perfect launch pad for cross-curricular connections and teachers should feel confidant in inspiring their students with wonder and curiosity about the world around us.  The workshop will provide ample ideas for hands-on activities, from building simple bird-feeders to collecting students’ compost.

This workshop will take teachers through a ‘day in the life of a naturalist’, where they learn the value of formulating questions about the world around us and making observations to help us find the answers.  The skills learned in this workshop are applicable to any subject area, as they tap into critical thinking and attention to detail.

This workshop will tap into an important part of the NGSS – using the engineering design process to engage students in critical thinking, team work, and creativity.  Teachers will practice using the steps of the engineering design process with upcycled materials.  We believe in re-using materials as often as possible in the classroom, which is an important message of sustainability.  Students and teachers alike will benefit from learning to think outside the box and being resourceful with classroom materials.

Project Learning Tree® is an award winning, multi-disciplinary environmental education program for educators and students in Pre K-grade 12. PLT, a program of the American Forest Foundation, is one of the most widely used environmental education programs in the United States and abroad. PLT continues to set the standard for environmental education excellence. The Elementary school curriculum (pre K-8) takes an interdisciplinary, hands-on approach to learning and contains more than 90 different lesson plans. In addition to teaching about science, trees, and forestry, PLT can be used to teach language arts, social studies, nutrition, mathematics, visual arts, and more. Our Director of Communications Lori Whalen will show you several hands-on activities to bring the environment into the classroom and your students into the environment. Topics range from forests, wildlife, and water, to community planning, waste management and energy. $10/teacher with a 20 minimum

Exotic plant species can have damaging consequences to our ecosystems. The trees, shrubs, and flowers native to California are often overlooked as resources for our butterfly gardens and landscaping.  Join ENC Assistant Director Lori Whalen to learn why natives are so awesome, then she’ll model some of her favorite plant related activities. Join us to DIG INTO the science behind supporting our native flora.  This workshop’s target audience is K-5 teachers, but we’re happy to present this workshop to teachers of any grade level. 2 hours. $10/teacher with a 20 minimum

Team-Building Workshops

Perfect for a corporate event or staff retreat, our team-building workshop will engage your team with several different hands-on activities.  These games and challenges will stimulate a part of the brain that isn’t often used at work, while getting creative juices flowing and forging cooperative relationships. $10/participant, 15 person minimum, mileage fees apply if you want us to come to you.

If you come to us, we’ll utilize our 5-acre outdoor facility to connect with each other and engage in team problem-solving tasks together.  You are welcome to bring in lunch (as long as it is in compliance with our Zero Waste Policy) and picnic in one of our beautiful native plant communities.

If you’d like us to come to you, we can utilize any outdoor space, conference room, or multi-purpose room.  We have a very creative team and can transform your space for the needs of this workshop.

Meeting Space for Title I Faculty

The ENC offers our facilities as a free meeting space for any Title I school faculty that wishes to use is for a faculty meeting.  We believe in encouraging creative collaboration out in nature and our 5-acre outdoor classroom serves as the perfect change-of-scenery for school teachers. Contact Mindy@encenter.org to schedule.

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