Teachers enjoyed gathering creative resources, new student activities and interacting with professionals as they learned how to approach teaching natural resources while using science, technology, engineering and math. Read more to learn how you can apply for a spot for the 2023 NRTI program.
The Indiana Natural Resources Teacher Institute (NRTI) is a multi-day conservation education workshop and tour of forest management, forest industry and forestry research in Indiana. The purpose of the institute is to provide an introduction to the impact sustainable forestry has on our state’s environment, economy, and quality of life, and to equip teachers to apply that knowledge in the classroom.
The 5-day workshop advances effective teaching and learning about Indiana’s forest resources and their management. Participants will learn how to approach the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts and principles from a natural resource perspective through exposure to professionals, researchers, and industry leaders and hands-on experiences in the field. Participants develop a STEM-based curriculum project to be implemented with their students, bringing natural resource science and management topics and activities into the classroom.
Several partners and many sponsors and supporters facilitate this program. The IN DNR Division of Forestry Project Learning Tree Coordinator, Donna Rogler, is the originator and lead on this project, and the Division provides housing for the participants at the Morgan Monroe State Forest Training Center. Lenny Farlee, Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Forester, and Mary Cutler, Tippecanoe County Parks and Recreation Naturalist, serve as Instructors/facilitators with Donna for the week of activities and tours. Presenters from several agencies, organizations, and companies assist with field tours and presentations, including a tour and activities on the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment site at Morgan Monroe State Forest. The connection with this long-term, large-scale research project provides a unique STEM application teachers can take back to their classrooms.
The NRTI program can accommodate up to 18 teachers, with emphasis on primary educators, but welcoming to educators from all ages and backgrounds. Many past participants have called this week the best professional development training they have attended. If you are an educator or know one who would be interested in attending future trainings, contact the Indiana Division of Forestry or keep an eye on the Purdue FNR Extension Calendar to apply for the next session in the summer of 2023.
Project Learning Tree
Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry
The Nature of Teaching, Purdue Department of Forestry and Natural Resources
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
Donna Rogler, Coordinator
Indiana Project Learning Tree
Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources