Schools in Parks Teacher Collaborative - Apply Now! STIPEND

Calling all 3rd, 4th & 5th grade teachers interested in collaborating with North Carolina State Parks and the UNC Institute for the Environment in a free, year-long professional development program! 


Apply now for the Schools in Parks Teacher Collaborative. Participating teachers experience the natural resources of our state parks, receive resources to support classroom integration of content, and receive stipend of up to $400 for full participation in the program. See below and attached flyer for more details. Application link:  




Schools in Parks: North Carolina State Parks Teacher Collaborative 


The North Carolina State Parks Teacher Collaborative is a free, year-long professional development program, engaging 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers in hands-on, inquiry-based activities integrated across content areas.  The program emphasizes outdoor activities, current environmental science, and first-hand experiences with the natural resources of state parks with a goal of bringing together park rangers and classroom teachers to collaboratively develop memorable outdoor learning experiences for students. Teachers will learn to use the outdoors and local natural resources to teach required curriculum objectives on school grounds and during field experiences at state parks. All content and activities are aligned with the NC Essential Standards for Science and Social Studies, and grade-level standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. 



Schools in Parks Workshops. Teachers participate in three virtual workshops over the course of the year that support integration of curriculum-aligned outdoor learning approaches and use of state park resources in instruction.  Workshops will include synchronous (via Zoom) and asynchronous components and will incorporate guided outdoor exploration.  

Lesson Development. Teachers will draw on their virtual workshop experiences as they work in small groups alongside ranger staff to develop and pilot a virtual lesson and an outdoor lesson for use with students. The lesson will highlight a state park's resources, involve direct, hands-on investigations, and will correlate with Essential Standards for Science and/or Social Studies. 

Community of Practice. Teachers will have the opportunity to experience natural and cultural resources first-hand during in-person field experiences and planning visits at state parks. Teachers will network with peers from across the state during the academic year to share resources and support in using outdoor learning approaches. 

State Park Field Trip. Teachers are encouraged to engage their class with a state park field experience (in-person or virtual) during the 2021-22 school year, with transportation costs for in-person field trips reimbursed by Friends of North Carolina State Parks.  



  • July 27th & 29th, 2021  
  • September 29th & October 6th, 2021 (after school hours)  
  • February 23rd & March 2nd, 2022 (after school hours) 


Teacher Collaborative participants will receive numerous benefits including: 

  • Authentic experiential learning opportunities designed to enrich knowledge of North Carolina’s ecosystems, geography, and environmental history and enhance skills in using the outdoors for instruction
  • Resources to support classroom integration of content including tailored curriculum materials
  • Access to a peer learning network
  • $300 stipend for fully participating in the three virtual workshops ($100 per workshop). 
  • An additional $100 stipend for successfully codeveloping a lesson with a ranger. 
  • Continuing Education Units (CEU), and credit for the N.C. Environmental Education Certification Program. 

Application period closes June 15, 2021.  



UNC Institute for the Environment 

Mary Meyer  


Sarah Yelton  


North Carolina State Parks 

Randy Bechtel 


Sean Higgins  



Mary Meyer, MEd , CIT

Elementary Environmental Education Consultant

Center for Public Engagement with Science

UNC Institute for the Environment | 703-232-8524

Pronouns: she/her/hers (Why Pronouns Matter)