A State-Federal Partnership Program


AUGUST 15-18, 2016

(Plus a follow-up call in November, date TBD)

Teachers on the Estuary (TOTE) is a program of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) that offers field-based professional development for teachers on watershed and estuary topics at Research Reserves. In this workshop, Reserves use local research and habitats as a context for introducing teachers to coastal science and issues, like climate change and sea level rise. This year's TOTE is being funded by a grant* and allows us to offer this unique 4-day opportunity for free, including lodging in our dorm-style cottage, meals, and ferry transportation. Teachers will be asked to conduct a stewardship project with one of their classes and carry out a scientific investigation back at their school during the 2016/17 school year based on the tools and methods learned during the workshop. The workshop activities have been correlated to NGSS and is designed for middle and high school STEM teachers.

The majority of the activities will be hands-on or in the field, as the weather allows.We will also spend time reviewing online resources such as data sets from the NERRS and NOAA, including water quality graphing applications and the Estuaries 101 online curriculum for middle and high school. A detailed course syllabus will be available in the coming weeks.

Please contact Maureen Dewire, Education Coordinator for the Research Reserve, with any questions and to apply for participation in this workshop.

Email: maureen@nbnerr.org or Phone: 401.683.1478

Space is limited to 10 participants. Applications will be reviewed as they come in.

* Grant Funding: This work is sponsored by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, which supports collaborative research that addresses coastal management problems important to the reserves. The Science Collaborative is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of Michigan Water Center.

2016 TOTE Flyer

2016 TOTE Draft Agenda (pdf)

2016 TOTE Application (pdf)

2016 TOTE Application (word)


More about TOTE...

The goal of TOTE is to improve teachers' and students' understanding of the environment using local examples and to provide resources and experience to support the incorporation of estuary and watershed topics into classroom teaching. The workshop is also designed to promote stewardship of watersheds and estuaries.

Features/Benefits of TOTE:

  • Work with experienced coastal educators and research scientists.
  • Explore coastal habitats and carry out field studies.
  • Learn how to use real data and guide student investigations.
  • Try out Estuaries 101, a web-based curriculum for middle and high school teachers.
  • Learn about opportunities to bring your students to the Reserve for a day of exploratory and place-based learning.

Past Participant Comments:

"Inspirational - encourages the need to challenge our students to learn and care about their environment and develop into concerned and aware citizens."

"This was one of the best workshops that I have ever been to. Great balance between inside and outside."

"I have been completely satisfied and will advocate to colleagues to take part in this weekend in the future. Thank you!"

"Amazing - safe, respectful environment invited questions and great knowledge base and experience. Thank you!"


Teachers from the 2014 TOTE workshop explore the salt marshes of Prudence Island, learning about impacts of climate change and sea level rise on our area shorelines.