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 2023 course will take place from August 8th-11th. 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.

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 2023-24 school year
  • Schoolship scholarship ($825 value)
  • Mini-grant for stewardship action project implementation (up to $300 value)

Timeline for 2023-24 GLWFC

  • Applications due: April 24, 2023, by 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Applicants notified of acceptance: May 16, 2023
  • Field course workshop: August 8-11, 2023
  • Stewardship action projects: During the 2023-24 school year
  • Ongoing online support: Throughout the 2023-24 school year

Access GLWFC Teacher Resources Here

(For current and past GLWFC teachers. Please email Trisha Smrecak,, 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
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)

Sign-up for news, events and other ISEA information