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Professional Development Workshops

​This page will be regularly updated with educator training opportunities and events throughout the state. A list of professional development opportunities and resources can be found on our educator resource page. Some workshops offer MSDE credit if combined with other workshops.

Interested in a WILD workshop, but can't find one to fit your needs? Please fill out our interest form, and we will send you notifications as workshops are scheduled: https://goo.gl/forms/Do1AxWXpwaGU7Nni2

Due to COVID-19, all current professional development workshops have been cancelled. We are currently working on online professional development options. If you are interested in an online Project WILD training session for your group, please contact Kerry Wixted (kerry.wixted@maryland.gov).

Registration Now Open

Conservation During Covid - Professional Development Workshops 2021 

If you have any questions please contact Amy Henry, amy.henry@maryland.gov

Wednesday, March 10, 1:30- 2:30

Title: Otter-things at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Description: When most people think about otters, they think about sea otters floating around in kelp fields. However, you don't have to go that far to see the other type of otter that lives in North America, the North American River Otter. It is native to the Chesapeake Bay, but not much research has been done on its populations, habits, and role in the Bay's food webs. In this talk I'll share with you basic river otter biology, and introduce you to the research we're doing at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center related to otters, their behavior, finding latrines, and parasites. We'll also touch on the newly forming Chesapeake Bay River Otter Alliance.


Speaker:. Karen McDonald, STEM Program Coordinator, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. 

Karen’s work at the Smithsonian, including the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center as a program coordinator and educator and at the Smithsonian Science Education Center developing curriculum and helping with a video series, spans 15 years. Before entering the environmental education world, Karen did research on birds and bats.  She is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Otter Specialist Group and in her spare time she rescues birds of prey for Owl Moon Raptor Center.


Register Here


 Wednesday,  March 17, 1:30 -2:30

Title: Taking Trout in the Classroom (TIC) Virtual

Description: When many schools are doing virtual learning, how can we still engage the students in the TIC Program? We take it virtual! Learn how the partnership between Maryland Trout Unlimited (MDTU) and Irvine Nature Center was able to create a virtual learning platform to continue to bring trout into the classrooms of schools who were unable to have physical tanks this school year. We will discuss the TIC program and why trout are an indicator species; the ways we pivoted to provide educational materials to teachers via videos; up-to-date water testing data charts, the new PolyPonics probe system, and even live video of the eggs and fish at Irvine.



Speakers: Jenna Krebs, Manager of Animal Care and School Programming/Naturalist at Irvine Nature Center and Tom Giannaccini, TIC Volunteer, Central Maryland.     


Register Here

Wednesday, March 24, 1:30-2:30

Title: Restoring Maryland’s Lakes and Estuaries: Naturally Socially Distanced Work

Description: This year has brought an increased appreciation for the recreational opportunities available in our communities.  Learn how DNR’s State Lakes Protection and Restoration Fund and the public’s requested priorities are being used to restore Maryland’s lakes.  Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) restoration projects are also being ramped up to ensure Marylanders have access to clean and navigable waterways:  Chesapeake Conservation Corps member, Jonas Lee, is enhancing DNR’s SAV restoration efforts by growing wild celery in multiple water bodies using seeds collected from the Sassafras River.  Attendees will also have an interactive introduction to DNR’s online SAV identification guide.

Speakers: Mike Naylor and Amy Hamilton, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Tidewater Ecosystems Assessment, and Jonas Lee, Chesapeake Conservation Corps

Mike Naylor is a Program Manager with the  DNR’s  Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment.  Mike has worked as a Senior Policy Advisor and formerly led Maryland's Shellfish Program.  Mike helped create DNR’s SAV identification website and co-authored an SAV identification field guide.

Amy Hamilton is a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) Biologist with DNR.  She monitors and researches potentially harmful algae in Maryland’s coastal and fresh waters and is a member of the Maryland HAB Task Force.  She has a background in toxin testing of water and shellfish samples and previously managed the Maine Marine Phytoplankton Monitoring Program, a citizen scientist operation.

Jonas Lee is a Chesapeake Conservation Corps member currently working with Mike Naylor.  He is a 2020 graduate of University of Maryland College Park where he majored in Environmental Science and minored in Sustainability. He has also interned with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s Maryland Biological Stream Survey program and the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability. 


Register Here


Wednesday, March 31, 1:30 -2:30

    Title: Beaver and Stream Restoration: Don’t Believe Everything You Think

Description:  The North American beaver is a keystone species whose activities promote ecological biodiversity across the landscape. The beaver’s role on the landscape has changed over time ranging from economic driver to a nuisance species.  The presentation will discuss new ways of thinking about stream restoration using beaver to restore water quality to streams in the bay watershed and how to manage human and beaver conflicts. Our speakers will highlight an approach and philosophy to restoration that is nature based and relies on ecological principles rather than engineering to achieve water quality and habitat goals. This will be followed by an interactive presentation showcasing a recently developed beaver curriculum geared toward middle and high school students.

Speakers:Scott McGill Founder and CEO of Ecotone Inc, and Hema Bhaskaran Environmental Science teacher from James M. Bennett High School.

Ecotone, Inc. is a design-build ecological restoration company located in Forest Hill, MD. Scott has over 30 years of applied experience in both design and construction of ecological restoration projects throughout the United States. He is a thought leader in the field of ecological restoration and has brought many new ideas and methods into the mainstream, including the use of native materials and the North American beaver, to drive ecological and water quality outcomes.  His “less is more” approach to environmental restoration, using nature to restore nature, which incorporates conservation biology and adaptive management, provides an innovative model for sustainable, cost-effective ecological restoration. 

Hemalatha “Hema” Bhaskaran has been teaching at James M. Bennett High School since 2004.  In her 15-plus years as an educator, she has taught biology, chemistry, environmental science, and advanced placement environmental science from freshmen to senior. She is passionate about providing meaningful educational experiences for all her students. Her goal is to close the experience and opportunity gaps by developing 21st-century skills through real-world scientific exploration and problem solving. As an educator, Hema has always empowered her students to find solutions to environmental issues and provide them platforms to showcase their solutions. Hema promotes diversity beyond the classroom through leadership of her school’s solutions for multicultural achievement and recognition team. She engages in collaborative leadership by serving on her school’s instructional leadership team, the Youth Environmental Action Summit’s steering committee, and statewide teacher environmental literacy leadership. 

    Register Here​