Research/Restoration - Snow Lake room
Taking a Pulse on Water Quality in the St. Joe River Basin
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program ~ Restoring our Aquatic Habitats
Hoosiers’ Willingness to Take Action for Nature: A TNC Study
Wading into the Future: Bridging Aquatic Research and Education
Partnerships - Crooked Lake room
Hoosier Riverwatch: Participatory Science & Water Quality
Indiana Master Naturalist Program
NGSS in the Rapids - Meeting the New Indiana Science Standards with Project WET & Project WILD
Success After Failure – A Journey to Implement Algae Monitoring
Partnerships Key to Healthy Water
Programs/Curricula - Jimmerson Lake room
Building Engaging Programs: Layer by Layer
Where My River Runs
Nature Engagement through Connections to Conservation
Paddling the Way to Water Quality Through Rafting Experiences
Leafing Out: The Expanding World of Project Learning Tree Resources
Miscellaneous - Lake James Room
Embracing Maria Montessori’s Vision for Nature Education at Oak Farm Montessori School
Exhibit Design for EE: Lessons from an Art Museum
Leaving the Four Walls of the Classroom
Fishing and the Environment: How to Teach Key Environmental Principles Through Fishing Programs
Find Your Funders!
Friday, November 10th
2:15 - 3:15 pm Session 1
Wetland Walk- Scott Namestnik, Botanist, IDNR Div. of Nature Preserves, Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center
Join Scott Namestnik on a short hike to the wetlands adjacent to Potawatomi Inn where we will observe and talk about a number of wetland plants and their ecological interactions and importance. We will also identify native and non-native species and discuss the importance of diverse wetland systems.
Hoosier Riverwatch: Participatory Science & Water Quality - Dylan Allison, Hoosier Riverwatch Coordinator
Since 1996, Hoosier Riverwatch has engaged Indiana citizens in becoming active stewards of Indiana’s valuable water resources through its hands-on water quality education and volunteer stream monitoring program. The statewide Hoosier Riverwatch volunteer network is still going strong, with over 4,000 trained stream monitors. Enthusiastic instructors provide the training, loaner equipment trunks are available for volunteers, and non-profit organizations may qualify for free monitoring equipment from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
This presentation is an overview of the Hoosier Riverwatch program. A summary of the training, water quality parameters, and database will be provided. Join us to find out how to get involved protecting the health and beauty of Indiana streams and watersheds for ourselves and future generations.
Building Engaging Programs: Layer by Layer - Sarah Baier, Education Program Specialist, Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams
Creating outreach programs that not only inform, but move the needle on behavior change, is at the core of what we do at Lilly Center for Lakes & Streams. If you have struggled with student or community engagement in your educational programs, you are in good company! We have all been there. Join us for an interactive session that will give you a taste of the "layer by layer" approach Lilly Center uses to create engaging programs from pre-K through adults. You'll also get inside information on how to access the data our Research Team has been collecting to use in creating your own programs. Don't miss this fun time of sharing ideas!
Embracing Maria Montessori’s Vision for Nature Education at Oak Farm Montessori School - Gena Grobarek, Oak Farm Montessori
The Eco-Literacy program at Oak Farm Montessori School expands learning beyond the classrooms and into the greater campus setting of the gardens, woodlands, wetlands, prairies, and conservation corridors. By integrating lessons on healthy living, community, earth education, environmental stewardship, organic gardening, and personal ownership, environmental education enhances the programming of every student. With Montessori’s chart of the interdependencies as a guide, the eco-literacy program brings the outdoor classroom to life through gardening, conservation, field work, life sciences studies, and micro-economy opportunities in the greenhouses, farm areas, and woodshop. Explore what environmental education looks like across the 3 - 18 yr old grade levels with Oak Farm’s Ecoliteracy Coordinator, Gena Grobarek, and her secondary students attending Oak Farm Montessori School.
3:30 - 4:30 pm Session 2
Taking a Pulse on Water Quality in the St. Joe River Basin – Matt Meersman, Dr. Kate Barrett, St Joseph River Basin Commission
Are you curious about what a watershed is? Are you interested in learning more about your local water resources and the ways in which scientists are learning about the health of watersheds? This session introduces you to the St. Joseph River Basin Commission and its role in historic and ongoing monitoring efforts throughout the watershed. By exploring the insights we can gain from looking at fish and macroinvertebrate communities in our waterways, as well as the quality of the stream habitat and surrounding land, you will learn about the essentials of what makes a stream healthy, and what makes it impaired. This session also introduces some cool tools to help participants learn more about the health of their watershed.
Indiana Master Naturalist Program – Jody Heaston, Indiana Master Naturalist State Coordinator
The IMN program is becoming popular to all types of people wanting to learn about nature and then give back to the environment and their communities. Learn how this program can benefit your school or organization and why people love it.
Where My River Runs – Alexis D. Degitz, St. Joseph River Watershed Initiative
Where My River Runs is an education curriculum to be adopted in elementary schools to educate students on the science, history, and health of watersheds. The education curriculum includes modern interactive platforms such as Kahoot! and Google Slides to teach any class size with an ability to use alternative teaching methods. Although the curriculum was designed to be taught in Northeast Indiana, Northwest Ohio, or Southwest Michigan, the curriculum builds on the general studies of ecology to be useful anywhere. The Where My River Runs Curriculum meets many of Indiana’s education standards to support future generations of Hoosiers.
Exhibit Design for EE: Lessons from an Art Museum – Bethany TestaAvila, Coordinator of Education Programs, Newfields
You don’t need a big space to make a big visual impact on your visitors – just a clear vision, thoughtful design, and engaging content. In this session learn how museums use exhibit design as an interpretive and educational tool, and how you can apply this practice at your park or nature center. We will talk about planning and designing your exhibit, writing interpretive content, and connecting that content to your outdoor programs. Whether you have multiple exhibit rooms or a solitary bulletin board, you will walk away with the skills to create engaging displays in your space!
Saturday, November 11th
9:00 - 10:10 am Session 3
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program ~ Restoring our Aquatic Habitats – Scott Fetters, Private Lands Biologist, US Fish & Wildlife
This session will touch on the glacial wetland habitats of Northeast Indiana including wetlands, fens, restoration projects, dam removal projects, and the unique partnerships required to restore Indiana’s aquatic habitats. It will include the history of wetlands, drainage, and restoring hydrology for migratory birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish with mention of Federal and State Threatened and Endangered species.
NGSS in the Rapids - Meeting the New Indiana Science Standards with Project WET & Project WILD – Kathy Maddren, State Coordinator Project WET and Project WILD
Explore the new Indiana Science Standards that incorporate the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and learn how to adapt Project WET and Project WILD activities to experience the three dimensions of science learning. Our focus will be on grades 6-12, but lower grades will be discussed.
Nature Engagement through Connections to Conservation - Indianapolis Zoo: Michelle Kolar, Director of Education, Tolly Foster, Education Programs Manager, and Beth Kosiba, Interpretation Manager
Come explore how to link your learners to nature with connections to conservation. Indianapolis Zoo and its Global Center for Species Survival will engage you creating meaningful connections to field conservation, near and far. Starting right here in the waterways of Indiana to the oceans surrounding Antarctica, we will provide tools to engage your students in projects from the Indiana Hellbender Partnership to Global Penguins Society. Everyone will take away strategies that can be utilized to bring your learners closer to the conservation of nature.
Leaving the Four Walls of the Classroom - Shannon Grace, Lifehouse Preschool Director
In this session, will sort through how to develop new or existing outdoor spaces into intentional learning environments and then explore the steps to create them. A road map for identifying values, organizing ideas, and creating a call to action for your program will be shared.
10:15 - 11:15 am Session 4
Hoosiers’ Willingness to Take Action for Nature: A TNC Study – Melissa Moran, The Nature Conservancy
Social science can support conservation by helping leaders understand people’s willingness to act for nature. A baseline survey in 2020 and a follow-up survey in 2022 provide insight into which actions Hoosiers are willing to take for nature, and where there are opportunities to do more to encourage engagement on behalf of the natural world.
Success After Failure – A Journey to Implement Algae Monitoring – Debbie Palmer, President, Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Fund and Liz Symon, M.S., M.P.A., P.D.C., Program & Marketing Coordinator, Moon Tree Studios
In June 2021, Lake Maxinkuckee experienced an extensive algal bloom along the public and dog beaches. Due to little public awareness about the danger of a bloom and no warning system in place, people and dogs continued to swim in the area. There were several reports of children with rashes and a few sick dogs. As a result, Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Fund sought out partners to come up with a solution. This is their journey from Failure to Success!
Paddling the Way to Water Quality Through Rafting Experiences – Mary Cutler, Tippecanoe County Parks and Darci Zolman, Independent Environmental Educator
Moving your classroom to the water through rafting programs is at the heart of this session. Mary and Darci will showcase three student rafting programs they are involved in and share information on each program’s unique goals, how they are organized and the outcomes they have experienced.
Fishing and the Environment: How to Teach Key Environmental Principles Through Fishing Programs - Chris Connor, Fishing Programs Coordinator for the Indiana DNR's Division of Fish and Wildlife
Chris will present on how fishing programming can be used as a conduit for teaching a broad range of environmental topics and principles. From hard sciences like chemistry, physics, biology, and ecology, to sociological topics such as history, culture, conservation, and stewardship, fishing programs can be used to teach it all in a manner that is fun and engaging for students.
Sunday, November 12th
9:10 - 10:10 am Session 5
Wading into the Future: Bridging Aquatic Research and Education – Megan Gunn, Recruitment and Outreach Specialist, Purdue University Dept. of Forestry & Natural Resources, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant)
Megan Gunn will showcase how she has been able to use her background as a former researcher in aquatic ecology in new roles educating youth about the environment.
Partnerships Key to Healthy Water – Lyn Crighton, Executive Director of The Watershed Foundation
This session will share experiences and examples of successful partnerships in action. Examples include watershed planning and management, agricultural conservation, lake associations, volunteer water monitoring, and the Indiana Clear Choices Clean Water campaign.
Leafing Out: The Expanding World of Project Learning Tree Resources – Lexi Eiler, Indiana PLT Coordinator
Project Learning Tree has been busy growing! Come join Lexi Eiler (IDNR Forestry Education Specialist, Project Learning Tree Coordinator) and actively engage with the variety of new resources PLT has to offer from early childhood activities to green career pathways.
Find Your Funders! – Alison Clark Zajdel, Stamm Koechlein Family Foundation, Resiliency Coordinator, Earth Charter Indiana and Independent Nonprofit Contractor
This session will walk through the best ways to find environmental education funding AND how to KEEP it going year after year! We will review opportunities through Indiana companies, ways to search online for the best fit, and how to build relationships with funders that last.
10:45 - 11:45 am Stewardship
Put on your boots and gloves to help remove a section of invasive Autumn Olive at Pokagon State Park.
Conference session locations
All of the sessions are in meeting rooms at the Inn.