CEEF Teacher Institute

Program Background

The California Environmental Education Foundation (CEEF) is committed to providing professional development opportunities for teachers that promote ecological understanding, stewardship of the environment, and environment-based practices in the classroom and beyond. To that end, CEEF established the CEEF Teacher Institute for Best Practices of Environmental Education and Stewardship (TI) in 2011 by delivering a three-day workshop in Yolo County. The workshop days were designed to enhance teacher’s pedagogic skill and train teachers with research-based environmental education (EE) activities from accredited curricula. The TI then followed up with individualized support for teachers as they ventured forth to implement their environmental education lessons.

Nearly every year since its inaugural Teacher Institute, CEEF has hosted similar institutes throughout the state, even adapting to virtual institutes during the pandemic. In its current form, the CEEF Teacher Institute takes place over the span of three months and guides teacher participants through professional development training, while offering coaching support through office hours and virtual grade-level cohort meetings. The end goal is to have student-led stewardship projects completed by all the teachers’ students during the same school year.

The success of the annual CEEF Teacher Institutes means that thousands of students each year are engaged in student-led, place-based stewardship projects that make a real difference to the campuses and communities they occur within. Examples of projects include planting trees and vegetables, reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, increasing student awareness of environmental issues through activities such as posters and a Public Service Announcement (PSA), campus cleanups or recycling, trail restoration, creek/beach clean-ups, and erosion abatement.

Through survey measures that were employed early on, CEEF found that students who participated under the leadership of their CEEF TI teacher gained in environmental knowledge, had positive attitudes toward specific stewardship behaviors, and were willing to engage in these behaviors. Students also demonstrated that they were able to think through an environmental problem by identifying the problem, cause, and solutions.

Through knowledge comes confidence, and teachers reported that their confidence and capacity also improved. It was clear through classroom observations that the materials engaged students and that teachers found innovative ways to structure their lessons and promote deep thinking about environmental topics.

We invite you to join this year’s CEEF Teacher Institute to build your skillset, confidence, and ability as an agent of change at your school.

2024 CEEF Teacher Institute Overview

Features of the CEEF Teacher Institute
  • Experience best practices in learner-centered pedagogy and NGSS science practices taught by a university pedagogy expert.

  • Learn about home-grown environmental stewardship practices from experts at Metropolitan Water District, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and the Southern CA Gas Company.

  • Receive up-to-date information from scientists and engineering managers on environmental hot topics such as water quality and conservation; water recycling and local supply sources; energy efficiency; renewable energy; electric vehicles; and ecological relationships between water and energy. Each topic area will include discussions about climate change connections.

  • Receive professional follow-up help throughout the institute from the expert science and environmental education consultant EDU Consulting LLC to identify high quality EE resources and to provide coaching on your students’ environmental stewardship projects.

  • Eligibility to purchase three (3) Continuing Education Units available through UC Davis.

  • Collect a $500 stipend mailed to you after completing each of the five following requirements of the Institute: participate in all online group and individual modules; write and implement one EE lesson using 5E pedagogy; conduct a faculty presentation; complete Project WET certification; and present your students’ stewardship project on April 20, 2024.

  • Learn about funding sources for EE and where to apply for a $200 mini grant to implement your students’ stewardship projects.

  • To apply, fill out the application form.  Space is limited.  If you have additional questions, please contact Dean Gilbert at dean@educonsultingllc.com. 

2024 CEEF Teacher Institute Summary

2023 CEEF Teacher Institute Summary

The 2023 CEEF Teacher Institue had a big impact, with 18 teachers completing the Institute and implementing community-based, student-led Stewardship Projects with 1393 students. Our CEEF teachers also engaged other educators at their school sites in discussions about their CEEF stewardship projects through large faculty presentations that indirectly impacted an additional 260 teachers and over 23,400 students.

Overall, the Institute provided an enhanced, unique, and engaging professional development program for our participants through the integration of layered and responsive techniques featuring self-guided modular curricula, engaging virtual live sessions, and previously developed CEEF branded high quality video productions.

See the full 2023 CEEF Teacher Institute Final Report below for full details.