Expanding Meaningful Environmental and Watershed Literacy With Geospatial Technology Tools and Practice

September 28, 2023, 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM EDT Free
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Expanding Meaningful Environmental and Watershed Literacy With Geospatial Technology Tools and Practice

September 28, 2023 , 5:00 PM 7:30 PM EDT

Educators seated at tables observing a Model My Watershed demonstration.
  • What: Professional development for K–12 educators in Pennsylvania.
  • When: 5–7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, September 28; October 5, 12, 19, 26; and November 2, and a final meeting on Thursday, November 16 from 5–8 p.m.
  • Where: Online.
  • Cost: Free. Participants may be eligible to receive a stipend and up to 30 hours of Act 48.
    • All assignments and surveys, with the exception of the post-implementation survey, must be submitted by November 22, 2023 to be eligible for stipend payment. The post-implementation survey must be completed before distribution of Act 48 hours.

Registration closes on Friday, September 8, 2023. Enrollment will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis; space is limited. Confirmation, prerequisite assignments, and course site login information will be sent on or before September 16, 2023.

Have you been searching for the missing link that helps bridge the gap between delivering environmental content and developing environmental literacy? Do you want to help your students understand their connections to their local environment but are limited by established curriculum sequences? Have COVID-19 restrictions on classroom and lab experiences limited your ability to design real-world STEM explorations using the environment as an integrative concept? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this is the professional development (PD) opportunity for you!

Using geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial technologies to explore complex interdisciplinary phenomena, such as environmental issues, has been demonstrated as a highly effective method for teachers and students to better understand connections within the natural world at all grade levels.

Connecting spatial representation and explorations to local field-based inquiry further improves understanding in a tangible way while creating a sense of place and connection to the issue. Yet, knowing which GIS tools to use and how to use them to enhance a new existing curriculum can initially be quite daunting to educators. 

In this PD experience, you will learn to: 

  • Identify which GIS tools to use in an environmental or watershed literacy instructional unit that will be appropriate for your instructional grade level.
  • Integrate and adapt these tools into your classroom instruction.
  • Share how GIS tools can be used to identify environmental or environmental justice issues within your district’s watershed boundaries.
  • Investigate environmental or environmental justice issues within and outside your watershed boundaries.
  • Identify which classroom practices and GIS tools can be used for both place-based learning and expansion into the regional watershed and environmental literacy inquiries.

Program Details

We are seeking K–12 educators in Pennsylvania to participate in an innovative professional development series designed to enhance educators’ understanding and implementation of GIS tools, watershed inquiry, and environmental literacy in their classroom practices.

The PD structure includes 15 hours of synchronous instruction and 15–30 hours of asynchronous assignments. Participants are required to do the following to be eligible for the stipend and the full allotment of Act 48 credit hours:

  • Complete the entire professional development sequence. 
  • Complete and submit all course assignments.
  • Complete the pre-course, post-course, and post-classroom implementation surveys.
  • Design and implement an inquiry-based unit plan which utilizes select GIS tools within the first eight weeks of the 2023–2024 school year.

Questions? Contact Tamara Peffer,, 717-772-0842.

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