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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.

Global climate change has increased the frequency of fires right in our backyards, but these fires also play a vital role in recycling nutrients in our ecosystems.  How can we reconcile the destruction caused by these fires while also learning and teaching about the important roles fires play in nature?  Join us for a lively discussion on fire safety and fire ecology.

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.

With many districts continuing virtual education through the end of the school year, bringing nature to our virtual learners remains a challenge for classroom teachers.  How can we foster a sense of appreciation for the natural world, while many of our students remain stuck at home?  Join us for a workshop chock full of ideas to engage your virtual scholars.

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.

Now that districts are employing an in-person or hybrid model of learning, we need to be vigilant about adapting our classroom space in socially responsible ways.  Teachers are needing to sacrifice valuable classroom space to accommodate social distancing.  Fortunately, taking your students outside is not only feasible, it’s recommended as a best practice since your students can learn in the fresh air!  Join us as we share techniques for transitioning your students to an outdoor learning environment.

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.

By now all of our teachers have become certifiable experts in distance learning.  How can we take what we’ve learned from our virtual spaces and apply it to an uncertain future?  Join us for a roundtable discussion on the tips and tricks we’ve learned and how we hope to see the world of virtual learning evolve.

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.

Teachers often miss opportunities to study the changes that come with the Spring by not preparing far enough in advance.  When should you plant your seeds?  When is the ideal time to attract butterflies to your garden? What birds can we expect to observe in nesting season?  Join us as we give you a crash course in preparing for Spring teachable moments.

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.

Join us as we walk through the Center, after hours, to discover some fun ways you and your students can learn about life cycles!

Come March, birds, bees, and bunnies are all ‘twitterpaited’ with the onset of Spring.  The season of rebirth is the perfect opportunity to connect your lessons to the topic of life cycles.  Join us as we present several engaging lesson ideas and discuss how to make this topic exciting in a virtual format.

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.

Nature is for everyone.  But not everyone feels like nature is inviting, accessible, inclusive, and safe.  What can we do to ensure nature is truly for ALL?  How can we embed new rhetoric into environmental education that reinforces these ideals?  Join us for an enlightening discussion that will leave us all feeling inspired.

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, $8/teacher; 3 hour workshop: $10/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. $8/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.

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