Great Lakes Watershed Field Course

Learn how to engage students in local environmental issues, investigate solutions, devise a plan, and take action. The Great Lakes Watershed Field Course (GLWFC) is a 4-day professional development experience for teachers throughout the Great Lakes region. The 2024 course will take place from August 6th to 9th. Training in the course includes watershed and environmental concepts, place-based education and environmental education pedagogy, and time for curriculum development. The GLWFC is open to teachers in all content areas, but teachers who participate are required to implement a watershed-based stewardship action project with their class. Inland Seas supports teachers throughout the school year with additional training, online forums, and other forms of assistance.

Many hands are needed to care for the Great Lakes. We strive to increase the diversity of races, cultures, abilities, ages, beliefs, sexual identities, and genders represented in stewarding the Great Lakes. We encourage people from all backgrounds to apply.

Applications are now open, you can find the form linked below. If you have any questions please reach out to Trisha Smrecak at tsmrecak@schoolship.org

What’s Included

  • Dormitory lodging
  • Food during the four days
  • Project visits, including transportation, in the Grand Traverse region that improve watershed health (e.g., invasive species control and prevention; native species habitat improvements; nutrient runoff reductions; and keeping the Great Lakes clean)
  • Ongoing support through the 2024-25 school year
  • Schoolship scholarship ($825 value)
  • Mini-grant for stewardship action project implementation (up to $300 value)

Timeline for 2024-25 GLWFC

  • Applications due: April 21, 2024
  • Applicants notified of acceptance: April 29, 2024
  • Field course workshop: August 6-9, 2024
  • Stewardship action projects: During the 2024-25 school year
  • Ongoing online support: Throughout the 2024-25 school year

Access GLWFC Teacher Resources Here

(For current and past GLWFC teachers. Please email Trisha Smrecak, tsmrecak@schoolship.org, if you do not have the password.)


The 2023 Great Lakes Watershed Field Course is supported by a generous grant from the Great Lakes Fishery Trust.


Previous Great Lakes Watershed Field Courses

2022 Teacher Stories

Read: GLWFC Impact on the Classroom

Read: Meaningful Water-Based Education

Read: Another PD in the Backpack

2019 Great Lakes Watershed Field Course Overview (click to view)
2019 Great Lakes Watershed Field Course (Funded by NOAA B-WET)

2017 Great Lakes Watershed Field Course


GLWFC Teacher Testimonials

“The experience [was] quite literally life changing for me.  I was pretty overworked and burnt out and ready for a career shift until I started this path.” ~Holly Hereau, South Redford School District, 2017 Participant

“The field trips were incredibly powerful, even for me as a teacher and learner.” ~2019 Participant (Note: This was from the anonymous evaluation survey)

“The experiences and collaboration with the other teachers have really put a boost into my motivations and intentions for what I want to do with both the stewardship project this year and our environmental science course as a whole. We got off to a good start last year with piloting this new course but now I’m pumped to take it to a whole other level for our kids.” ~Megan, 2019 Participant

“Exceptional quality learning experience. I haven’t had something this engaging in my educational career since graduate school that ended in 2003.” ~2021 Participant (Note: This was from the anonymous evaluation survey)

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