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Our Lakes, Streams, and Rivers

Experiential Education and Stewardship in the Lake Ontario Watershed

Waterfall on Keuka Outlet

The Our Lakes, Streams, and Rivers program is a NOAA funded initiative designed to provide middle and high school teachers professional development and connect them to the aquatic education resources we have in the Rochester and Finger Lakes Region. It will support the adoption of meaningful watershed education experiences in aquatic science and stewardship and help to empower our youth to make meaningful impacts on our precious waters.

We are seeking teachers who will commit to participating in all elements of the project as we develop a community of educators who are prepared to address some of our most pressing environmental issues.

Who Can Participate?

  • Any middle or high school teacher may apply.
  • Priority will be given to those in the Greater Rochester region, which includes Monroe, Wayne, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, and Orleans County.
  • Further consideration will be applied to teachers in the Lake Ontario and connected watersheds.
  • All participants must commit to participate in the summer workshop, develop curriculum, participate in the support activities, execute a MWEE with their classroom, submit student work for the Celebration of Student Success, and complete required evaluations.
  • We encourage, but do not require, pairs of teachers from a school to apply.

Schedule Change (COVID-19 Impact) 

Due to the COVID-19 impacts, the program is evaluating moving the workshop to August 2020. We are currently planning to implement the '20-21 school year program as planned. 

How to Apply

Teachers paddling canoes during a professional development training on the Genesee River in front of Lower Falls.

Teachers can apply to participate with this form. We encourage partner teachers from a school or district to apply. Early applications are due May 30, with rolling evaluation of additional applicants there after. The application is specifically for the 4-day workshop. Participation in the workshop will automatically make you eligible for the classroom support.

Apply to be Part of our Lakes, Streams, and Rivers

The Program Includes:

Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience Training

TBD- Summer, 2020

Students working on the Environmental Education on the Erie Canal protocols on the Sam Patch boat.

Students working on the Environmental Education on the Erie Canal protocols on the Sam Patch boat.

This teacher professional development will teach you about the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE) framework and how you can connect it to your curriculum. The training will build your skills and knowledge to enable you to lead your class into the field to conduct aquatic scientific inquiry and stewardship at your school, around town, and/or with an educational provider. 

Pedagogy Training
  • Learn the MWEE framework and how to integrate meaningful field study and stewardship
  • Learn how a MWEE can map to the Next Generation Science Standards
  • Learn aquatic science methods and equipment
  • Make connections to a wide variety of people, resources, and opportunities
  • Develop lesson plans to implement in your class in 2020-2021
Field Experiences
Students performing stream water quality analyses.

Students performing stream water quality analyses.

The training will take place at St. John Fisher College and Rochester-area field sites and locations. Workshop participants will provide their own transportation and some lunches. A housing stipend is available for workshop participants traveling more than 1.5 hours. Workshop materials and experiential costs will be covered by the program.

Program Benefits
  • 28 hours of Professional Development towards professional certification or 18.5 hours of Continuing Teacher and Leader Educational credits for professionally certified teachers
  • A $500 stipend upon completion of all elements of the training
  • Eligibility for further funding in the program

Support for the Adoption of Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences

Fall 2020 - Spring 2021

After training, the program will support MWEEs for your classroom over the 2020-2021 school year. Each classroom will be provided with:

  • Up to $835 to support the costs of equipment, transportation, program participation, and/or stewardship action projects.
  • Mentoring from an experienced teaching coach and connections with other teachers to address challenges.
  • An additional stipend of $125 for teachers who successfully complete an MWEE that includes all defined components and required program and NOAA evaluations.

Celebration of Student Success

June 2021

Students photographing aquatic insects as part of stream monitoring.

Students photographing aquatic insects as part of stream monitoring.

We will celebrate the classroom and student achievements:

Our Lakes, Streams, and Rivers Poster Walk
Our Lakes, Streams, and Rivers Celebration
  • A public celebration on a Saturday (specific date TBD), when students, families, teachers, and the community can come together to learn more about your work.
Online Gallery of Student Work


Please contact program director Michael Boller, Ph.D. with your questions about the program at

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Logo

Our Lakes, Streams, and Rivers: Experiential Education and Stewardship in the Lake Ontario Watershed is in partnership with the NOAA Great Lakes Bay Watershed Education & Training Program.