Teacher Professional Development
Teachers netting invertebrates“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”
—Mark Van Doren

At the Missouri Botanical Garden, we regard teachers as close colleagues. The role they play in our world is simply heroic, and we thank them for their daily, unwavering commitment to creating curious, lifelong learners. To support and strengthen teachers, we offer a diversity of courses, workshops and other experiences in the summer and throughout the school year.

Some schools and districts count Garden professional development toward district-required professional development units. College credit is available for select summer workshops.

For more information, please call (314) 577-0819 or e-mail teachertraining@mobot.org.


Green Teaching in the Classroom

Tuesday, February 12, 2019; 4–7 p.m.

At the Missouri Botanical Garden's Commerce Bank Center for Science Education (CBEC, 4651 Shaw Blvd.)

Many students are familiar with recycling, but what can they do with specialized items? How can they dispose of electronic and batteries? What should they do with household cleaners? And what is terracycling? This class will help to answer those questions and assist teachers in integrating these topics with their curriculum. In this workshop, you’ll:

  • Get a full understanding of how special waste should be processed.
  • Build confidence in your own content knowledge.
  • Learn best practices to encourage environmental stewardship in students.
  • Develop students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Help students plan, implement, and evaluate projects with real-world impacts.
  • Access cross-curricular, inquiry-based materials and lesson plan.


Thursday, March 14, 2019; 4–7 p.m.

At the Missouri Botanical Garden's Commerce Bank Center for Science Education (CBEC, 4651 Shaw Blvd.)

Join EarthWays Center for a FREE educator workshop about integrating compost and decomposer education into your classroom! Compost is a great topic when teaching about reducing waste, sustainability, and even food webs. In this workshop, you’ll:

  • Learn how compost is vital to reducing waste.
  • Build confidence in starting composting in your own school.
  • Learn best practices to encourage environmental stewardship in students.
  • Develop students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Help students plan, implement, and evaluate projects with real-world impacts.
  • Access cross-curricular, inquiry-based materials and lesson plans.


MSD Clean Water Educator Training

enviroscape2 Saturday, March 2, 2019;
8:30 a.m.–2 p.m.

At the Missouri Botanical Garden's Commerce Bank Center for Science Education (CBEC, 4651 Shaw Blvd.)

Get started in building your knowledge and understanding of stormwater issues in our area! This workshop is designed to facilitate teachers’ desire to learn more about stormwater management and water quality while introducing new ways to bring this topic back to their students. Educators who attend will earn their Clean Water Educator Certification and will be trained on the use of EnviroScape models.

This workshop is FREE to attend; eligible educators will receive a $75 stipend upon completion of workshop. Lunch will be provided.

Learn more and register

Ecological Restoration for Educators

Sunday, March 3, 2019; 2–4:30 p.m.
At Shaw Nature Reserve

Please join us in attending our Ecological Restoration Workshop for Educators. Both formal and informal educators are invited to attend. This workshop is focused on providing educators (teachers, boy/girl scout leaders, community leaders, and more) with the resources they need to introduce ecological restoration into their curriculum and lesson plans. Even if you don't fall into the educator category, feel free to join us to learn more about how you can get a group together in your community to not only manage invasive plant species, but to transform your green spaces into healthy habitats and to increase biodiversity in our region. 

This is a free event and teachers serving students at all ages are welcome. Contact Allison Brown, Restoration Outreach Coordinator at Missouri Botanical Garden, with any questions: abrown@mobot.org or call (314) 577-9473, x 76312.


City Nature Challenge 2019 Educator Workshops


The City Nature Challenge is coming up again this April! In 2018, the St. Louis metropolitan area placed 12th out of 65 cities competing to see which could record the most observations of living things in the region. We're competing again in 2019, and this year's field of competition has more than doubled!

This is a great time to get acquainted with iNaturalist, and introduce your students to its use. You'll be contributing to real ecological study of the St. Louis region, and helping us retain our title at the same time!

If you'd like to learn more, consider participating in one of our FREE Educator Workshops:

  • Thursday, March 7 from 5–8 p.m. at the Commerce Bank Center for Science Education (4651 Shaw Blvd, 63110), or
  • Saturday, March 9 from 9 a.m.–noon at the Missouri Botanical Garden's PlantLab.

These workshops are open to formal and informal educators, scout leaders, and homeschooling guardians throughout the combined statistical area around St. Louis, including the city and the following counties in Missouri: St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, Warren, Washington and St. Francois, as well as the following counties in Illinois: St. Clair, Madison, Macoupin, Clinton, Monroe, Jersey, Bond and Calhoun.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required.

Download a promotional flyer.

At Litzsinger Road Ecology Center

The following teacher professional development workshop is offered at Litzsinger Road Ecology Center, which is managed by the Missouri Botanical Garden:

Effective Outdoor Learning
June 13–14, 2019 OR July 11–12, 2019
This 2-day workshop kicks off a year-long partnership with Litzsinger Road Ecology Center (LREC).  Learn how to become familiar with your schoolyard and how to use it a as a rich learning environment with your students.

EOL_Photo-300x225By participating in this workshop, you may become eligible for:

  • Support from LREC staff in developing outdoor teaching and learning skills throughout the school year
  • Free field trips to the ecology center

Visit Litzsinger Road Ecology Center's website for additional details and to register.


Sustainability Institute for K–12 Educators


Exploring the World Around Us: Using Technology to Build Connections
June 18–20, 2019

The 2019 Sustainability Institute for Educators will focus on the intersection of exploration, place, and sustainability. Using technology as a vehicle, educators will investigate local and global connections—all from their own classroom, learning space, or schoolyard. In its ninth year, this three-day institute challenges participants to help learners build awareness, recognize responsibility, and take action as global citizens working to build a sustainable world. The institute will feature a mix of special guest speakers, tools and resources, field studies and hands-on experiences.

$150 registration fee includes speaker fees, breakfast and lunch for all three days. Graduate credit is available! Hosted at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School, St. Louis, Missouri.

Keynote Speaker:
Peg Keiner, Director of Innovation at GEMS World Academy Chicago and 2019 National Geographic Education Fellow. Peg Keiner's educational passion is creating space for people to solve the problems that matter to them. She empowers communities by helping them to collect data and drive positive action.

Learn more: www.webster.edu/sie

Professional Development Outreach

Administrators—Are you looking for professional development opportunities for your staff?

The Missouri Botanical Garden's School Programs team offers topnotch STEM and inquiry training for K–12 that can be incorporated into an established professional development day or offered as an evening or weekend program at your school. Programs typically last 45–60 minutes and serve up to 30 teachers. Additional programs may be scheduled within the same day to serve larger groups.

Outreach costs for professional development programs are:

  • $150 for the first hour and $50 for each additional hour (to take place the same day).
  • $1/mile over 20 miles.

Professional development programs may be uniquely designed for your school upon request. (Additional planning costs may be incurred. These will be discussed with you prior to scheduling.)

Please call (314) 577-0819 or e-mail teachertraining@mobot.org to discuss programming options.


No-cost Outdoor Learning Experience

Teacher with students at LREC Visit the Garden's Litzsinger Road Ecology Center with your class and learn how partnering with us will improve your skills as an outdoor place-based educator.
Learn more
Online Master's Degree

Adult students studying plantsCheck out a graduate degree program that combines web-based courses through Miami University with experiential learning, internships, and field study in person at the Garden. Learn more

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This summer, join a family reading program that connects nature-inspired books with the great outdoors!
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