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Champlain Basin Education Initiative


The Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI) is a consortium of environmental and place-based education groups throughout the Lake Champlain Basin. CBEI holds workshops on teaching about the Lake Champlain Basin for K-12 educators, and interested citizens. The workshops feature diverse and exciting presentations by local experts on topics such as climate change, water quality, cultural heritage, and natural resources. CBEI is dedicated to offering rich learning opportunities to teachers so that they might be better qualified to offer them to their students.

Since 1992, more than 650 educators have participated in CBEI workshops and forums.


Upcoming Events

Telling STORIES of the Saranac River
October 23, 2015 at SUNY Plattsburgh. 8:30 - 3:30.


World Water Day Celebration and Contest
March 24, 2016
Location: TBA


Past Events

Watershed For Every Classroom 2014-2015
Agenda for July through May sessions >>
View our Facebook photo gallery of the summer 2014 session >>

Teaching PLACE: Using technology and professional wisdom to uncover the interrelationships between natural and built systems
January 24, 2015
The twenty-five educators who participated in this conference used a variety of technologies to investigate human interactions with built and natural landscapes. Teachers collected data on the Burlington waterfront, created blogs and maps to tell stories of the natural and cultural history of the area, and collected weather and climate data. Download the agenda >>
See workshop resources and contacts >>

Engaging Young Scientists! Educator Workshop Grades 6-12
Download the Agenda >>

Celebrate World Water Day! - 2014
Download the flyer >>

World Water Day Contest! - 2014
Contest and World Water Day program information

Tracking With Sue Morse
January 24, 2014 at Wolfrun, Jericho, VT
Join other Watershed for Every Classroom alumni and interested participants in a day of tracking with Sue Morse, nationally recognized wildlife ecologist and professional tracker. Together, we will explore the fundamentals of tracking and reading the landscape while spending the day exploring Wolfrun. Come prepared for the weather and somewhat strenuous hiking. To register for this program, please contact Christie Nold at or (802)985-0319. A limited number of spots are available! Flyer

Bridging Disciplines: Exploring the Stories of Our Place
May 31, 2013 at Fort Ticonderoga, New York
Participants joined the Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI) partners as place-based learning across disciplines was explored, incorporating the Common Core standards as well as the newly issued Next Generation Science Standards. We discussed the foundational principles of place-based practices, examined primary documents, and engaged in historical and scientific investigations. View the final agenda with links to resources and materials from the workshop.

Change Over Time: Exploring the Interwoven Stories of the Burlington Waterfront
February 3, 2013, Main Street Landing, Burlington, VT
Participants joined the Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI) partners in examining the dynamic and interrelated stories of the Burlington waterfront. The day was led by Walter Poleman, UVM ecologist, PLACE Program Director and Ellen Marsden, UVM Professor of Fisheries. They explored the questions: What is the story of the Burlington waterfront? How has it changed over time? Using the unique lens of each of their disciplines, Walter and Ellen shared ways to observe and understand evidence of changes in the terresterial and aquatic environments. View the final agenda.

2012-2013 WEC Professional Development Program
Watershed for Every Classroom is a year-long, 11-day professional development experience for K-12 teachers. In a supportive, collaborative, and fun environment, we explore the many different ecological and cultural stories of the Lake Champlain Basin. Teachers experience testing for water quality, visiting farms, paddling on boats, looking out over mountaintops, and much more as they consider the many issues that face our watershed and ways to design curriculum that engages their students in these issues. See the 2012-2013 Program Agenda. Visit the Curriculum Library to see the work completed by WEC teachers, including those who participated in the 2012-13 program.

Climate Change Workshop for Teachers
March 10, 2012 at Saint Michael's College, Colchester, VT
The goal of this event was to share resources and tools for teaching about climate change. It was a stimulating day of new information, dialogue, and classroom applications in an innovative format of presentations, lab work, and computer time. The day's events are summarized in more detail at the WatershED Matters blog.

In addition, the following resources from the workshop are available.

A "Watershed for Every Classroom" Workshops, 2007-2009

CBEI workshop particpant learning to use a secchi disk.Ten New York, Vermont and Quebec educators completed the 11-day "Watershed for Every Classroom" teacher training program hosted by the Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI) in 2008-2009. In 2007, 17 teachers participated. In the past two years alone, participating educators have helped students design and implement the following types of projects:

Hard copies of the curriculum units completed by recent CBEI particpants are available for review at the LCBP Resource Room (top floor of ECHO at Leahy Center for Lake Champlain). Outlines of units and specifc exemplars are in the Curriculum Library.

CBEI One-Day Summits
Fun with other educators and experts!In May 2006, 75 educators attended Summit 2006: Who's Taking Care of Lake Champlain? Building Stewardship for the 21st Century at Shelburne Farms. Workshops were held in four areas: Watershed Ecology 101; Humanities, Literacy & More; Current Events & Ecosystem Research; and Technology & Geology. In May 2002, about 70 educators attended Summit 2002: Explore the Diversity of the Lake Champlain Basin - Linking Students to Their Watershed at Shelburne Farms. A dozen workshops covered topics such as animal tracking, nuisance species, seining for fish, identifying aquatic invertebrates, and wildflower walks. In 2000, CBEI offered a similar full-day Summit at Basin Harbor, which was attended by more than 75 educators.

Meet our Partners!

Amy Picotte, Environmental Analyst
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Water Quality Division, 103 S. Main St.
Waterbury, VT 05671
Tel: 802-241-3789

Colleen Hickey, Education and Outreach Coordinator

Lake Champlain Basin Program
54 West Shore Road
Grand Isle, Vermont 05486
Tel: 802-372-3213

Christie Nold, Director of School Programs
Shelburne Farms
1611 Harbor Rd
Shelburne, VT 05482
Tel: 802-985-8686

Erin De Vries, Watershed Educator and Outreach Coordinator
UVM Watershed Alliance-Lake Champlain Sea Grant
3 College Street
Burlington, VT 05446
Tel: 802-859-3086

Molly Loomis, Education Director
ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
1 College Street Burlington, Vermont
Tel: 802-864-1848

ECHO focuses in on stewardship with weekly environmental segments on NewsChannel 5, interactive demos at ECHO on local conservation issues and through a contributory exhibit called Voices for the Lake that uses personal stories to make conservation connections in the Lake Champlain Basin.

Lori Fisher, Executive Director
Lake Champlain Committee
208 Flynn Avenue Building 3, Studio 3F
Burlington, VT 05401
Tel: 802-658-1414

Amy Demarest
Our Curriculum Matters, Curriculum Coach
Saint Michael's College, Adjunct Professor
Tel: 802-363-1361