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      Nick Carroll

      Willow Bend Environmental Education Center in Flagstaff, Arizona offers professional development opportunities for teachers and non-formal environmental educators on a semi-regular basis. I have personally participated in one and reviewed my experience below. They are typically free to participants, but space is limited. The Flagstaff Unified School District counts these workshops for seat hours and continuing education credits. Upcoming workshops are right around the corner!
      Friday, October 5 – Frances Short Pond
      2:00 – 5:30pm
      “The workshop is designed for K-5 teachers and non-formal environmental educators who want to take students on field trips to the pond or design in-class activities that focus on local wildlife, habitats, and watersheds. Specifically, the workshop will cover pond and cabin history, facilitate a few fun wildlife focused activities that can be done on or off site, conduct basic water quality testing, and review check out kits and materials available for teacher use at the cabin.”

      Saturday, October 6 – Picture Canyon
      8:30am – 12:30pm
      “Participants will explore this unique open space on a 3-mile hike covering the natural and human history, highlighting points of interest (including the petroglyphs and the waterfall) and sharing fun hands on activities. The workshop is designed for teachers and non-formal environmental educators.”

      For more information and registration visit:

      I participated in a workshop last year that combined both locations. At the time, my environmental education position was not based in Flagstaff but Sedona. Initially, I was hesitant to participate because I was unsure how applicable the locally-focused lessons and activities would be to my own location “down the hill”. In the end, I am glad that I attended. The workshop emphasized resources specific to each location, but it did so in ways that inspired me to think about new possibilities for my own program. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn, reflect, and get creative. I should have never doubted. The instructors are skilled and clearly passionate. They know their stuff, emphasizing hands-on activities, experiential learning, inquiry skills, systems thinking, and strategies to connect students to nature, history, and each other. Moreover, the workshop sites are truly fascinating locations, Picture Canyon especially. Wherever you may be coming from you are sure to take away value from these opportunities offered through Willow Bend. Highly recommended!

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