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 is a 4-day professional development experience for teachers throughout the Great Lakes region from August 15-18, 2021. Training in the course includes watershed and environmental concepts, place based education and environmental education pedagogy, and time for curriculum development. It 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.

What’s Included

Thanks to a grant from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, we can offer this professional development free of charge. (Participants are responsible for transportation to and from the course.) ISEA is following CDC recommended guidelines and taking COVID precautionary measures as needed.

  • Dormitory lodging
  • Food during the four days
  • Project visits, including transportation, in the Grand Traverse region that improve watershed health (invasive species control and prevention; native species habitat improvements; nutrient run off reductions; and keeping the Great Lakes clean)
  • Ongoing support through the 2021-22 school year
  • Schoolship scholarship ($825 value)
  • Grant for stewardship action project implementation (up to $300 value)


  • Applications due: May 7, 2021 at 5:00 pm EST
  • Applicants notified of acceptance: By May 21, 2021
  • Field course workshop: August 15-18, 2021
  • Stewardship action projects: During 2021-22 school year
  • Ongoing online support: Throughout 2021-22 school year

Previous Great Lakes Watershed Field Courses

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

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

“It was great to have the field course away from school and out of my comfort zone. It gave me real world, applicable and hands-on training to take back to my classroom while also reinvigorating me for this upcoming year!” ~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

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

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