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Outdoor Science Learning

Focus on Outdoor Science Learning

We prepare teachers to take their students out into local environments for authentic and relevant learning experiences using direct hands-on experiences in school grounds and local natural areas such as state parks. Participants in these programs typically experience gains in their confidence and sense of efficacy in teaching science generally, as well as teaching science outdoors, after completing the program.


a group of people searching for insects in the forest

Caterpillars Count!

Citizen scientists, including middle and high school youth, who participate in Caterpillars Count! conduct surveys on trees and shrubs to aid in measuring the seasonal variation and abundance of arthropods like caterpillars and beetles.

Five teens on a boat

GEO Explorers

A one-week geoscience-focused summer institute during which middle and high school youth explore the hydrology of Eastern North Carolina from local river basins to the ocean, learning about climate impacts and solutions in their local community and investigating geoscience careers along the way.

three students monitor water quality in a stream in the woods.

Geoscience and Environmental Health Internships

This high school student science enrichment program is a partnership between the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute for the Environment, UNC-Pembroke, and Robeson Early College High School. This program is free for students; financial support is provided by Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

People look at a sediment core in a pond.

Geoscience Teaching Outdoors in NC

Geoscience Teaching Outdoors in NC is designed to engage middle and high school STEM teachers and their students in hands-on, inquiry-based activities to support student learning about earth and environmental science.

a group of teachers and park rangers at Pilot Mountain State Park

Schools in Parks Collaborative

A year-long professional development program for elementary teachers and NC State Park rangers to foster collaborative development of memorable learning experiences for students in State Parks.

Outdoor Science Learning Resources