Got Nature? Blog

Are you an Indiana teacher who is looking to incorporate natural resources, forest ecology and forest management into your curriculum?

Apply now for the Indiana Natural Resources Teacher Institute, an immersive multi-day professional development workshop that will bring 18 teachers from across the state to Morgan-Monroe State Forest to see firsthand how forestry works in Indiana.  Sessions from June 24 to 28 will include tours of public and private forest lands, forest industry facilities, and information about forestry research in Indiana.Photo from HEENewsletter

The goal of the institute, which is co-hosted by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources Extension, is to provide Indiana teachers with knowledge, skills and tools to effectively teach their students about forest ecology and forest management practices.  The forest environment becomes the basis for integrating the learning of many subject areas, including environmental science, biology, natural resources, and social science.  The NRTI incorporates STEM concepts and principles throughout the sessions and empowers educators to foster conceptual learning, critical thinking and decision-making skills in their classrooms.

The Natural Resources Teacher Institute emphasizes the importance of conservation of natural resources with special attention given to Indiana’s forests and forest products.  The project-based approach integrates hands-on study of the natural and cultural resources of the local community, addresses concepts in ecology, sense of place, civics, economics and forest land management and stewardship.

Participants will develop a curriculum project about forests or forestry for their classrooms.  Participants will earn 30+ Professional Growth Points and receive a stipend upon documentation of implementing curriculum project. Concepts are linked to the Indiana Learning Standards and participants are provided resources and training from Project Learning Tree as well as forestry equipment kits.

The 2024 edition of the NRTI will begin on Monday, June 24 at 1:00 pm and conclude on Friday, June 28 at noon. The base of operations will be the Forestry Training Center at Morgan-Monroe State Forest near Martinsville. Teachers will stay in the Training Center, sharing one of the 10 sleeping rooms.  Meals will be provided.

Interested educators must complete an application and submit it by the deadline of March 22, 2024.  Successful applicants will be notified by April 1, 2022. The institute is limited to 18 participants per session. There is no cost for participants. Those accepted will be required to pay a $50 deposit, which will be refunded at the end of the program. Participants will receive a stipend when documentation is provided that they have implemented their curriculum project with their students.

  • Attendees must be available to participate in all days of the institute. (Individual participation only – spouses and/or children, etc., are not permitted.)
  • Participants must be able to actively participate in all activities, which will include walking, hiking, summer temperatures, insects, etc. Reasonable accommodations will be made for individuals with disabilities who may need assistance.
  • Participants must have the ability to implement a curriculum project in their educational setting.

For more information and to request an application for the NRTI, contact Project Learning Tree Coordinator Lexi Eiler via email at or via phone at 463-253-8835.

To get a glimpse at the curriculum and also feedback from past participants, read NRTI Takes Forestry to the Classroom.

To register, please fill out the NRTI Application.

Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources Facebook Page
Project Learning Tree
Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry
The Nature of Teaching, Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
The Nature of Teaching: Trees of the Midwest, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
Trees of the Midwest Webinar, Nature of Teaching YouTube channel

Indiana Forestry Educational Foundation, Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association
Forest/Timber, Playlist, Purdue Extension – Forestry and Natural Resources YouTube Channel
Natural Resources Teacher Institute Takes Forestry to the Classroom, Purdue FNR News
Purdue Extension

Lexi Eiler, Coordinator
Indiana Project Learning Tree

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources

Got Nature?