Ecological Education Program

The Ecological Education Program offers opportunities for K-12 students, teachers, and community members to engage in place-based ecological education through school programs, teacher workshops, and volunteering. Our programs are experiential, hands-on, and inspire inquiry and action. We partner with others to engage the future stewards of Oregon in the study of native plants and habitat restoration through service-learning and curriculum development.  Our goal is to connect people with nature and a sense of place through ecological education, service-learning, and citizen science, and we maintain educational programs under these Guiding Principles.

Examples of our activities include:

Program Director Stacy Moore helping students restore riparian habitat at Bald Hill near Corvallis, Oregon

  • Engaging local elementary, middle and high school students in habitat restoration in schoolyard and natural areas
  • Providing curriculum and other resources for teachers in ecological education
  • Hosting community education workshops
  • Providing environmental education opportunities to incarcerated youth at Linn-Benton Juvenile Detention Center
  • Partnering with the Department of Corrections in six states to provide vocational training and science education opportunities to incarcerated adults through the Sustainability in Prisons Project - Oregon and the Sagebrush in Prisons Project.
Aves Compartidas Program - Connecting students bi-nationally in the Willamette River Watershed and the Laja River Watershed through shared and migratory birds 

A collaborative student artwork "puzzle" featuring a great blue heron, one of the shared migratory species between Oregon and Guanajuato.

  • Aves Compartidas means "shared birds" in Spanish.
  • In 2020, we have adapted our lessons to be online for distance learning. Visit this program's Youtube page and resources page (in english - en español) for videos, activities, and other learning resources!
  • IAE education staff are working with students at English and Spanish dual-immersion schools in the Willamette Valley as part of the larger Willamette Laja Aves Compartidas Program which is engaging four schools in the Willamette Valley and five schools in the Laja River Watershed in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. The Willamette-Laja Twinning Partnership engages youth, educators, birders, and restoration practitioners bi-nationally.
  • In partnership with Marys River Watershed Council and Greenbelt Land Trust, we are also engaging bilingual high school "peer mentors" in environmental education and empowering then to assist with elementary school classroom and field lessons at Bald Hill Farm.
  • We are teaching hands-on ecology lessons  about migrating birds, habitats, adaptations, and freshwater ecosystem health at English-Spanish dual-immersion schools.
  • With funding from the Gray Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust and many others, this project is part of a larger collaboration among many partners and sponsors, click here for the full list. Your support will directly engage more students and schools into this project! Choose "education" from the donation menu below:

Please consider a donation to support our education programs.

High school students practice teaching outdoor lessons at the peer mentor summer training.

3rd graders from Garfield Elementary school simulate a bird migration obstacle course at Bald Hill Farm.







The 2019-2020 peer mentors and IAE staff at Bald Hill Farm during the peer mentor summer training

High school students learn how to use binoculars to observe birds.

Ecological Education Curriculum Series

Click to learn more about our Curricula, including Salmonberry to Sagebrush: An Exploration of Oregon's Native Plants is an ecoregionally-based grades 9-12 curriculum about native plants in Oregon

Sagebrush in Prisons Project
Sustainability in Prisons Project (SPP) - Oregon Network

A sagebrush technician holding a tray of sagebrush at Idaho State Correctional Center.

South Boise Women's Correctional Center box up sagebrush plants for delivery to restoration sites









IAE is part of the Sustainability in Prisons Project - Oregon Network, working to bring science and nature opportunities into prisons.  We work closely with Department of Corrections and other partners to provide unique and meaningful service-learning opportunities to incarcerated men and women.

IAE coordinates the Sagebrush in Prisons Project, an environmental partnership between the Institute for Applied Ecology, Department of Corrections, and the Bureau of Land Management. The Sagebrush in Prisons Project provides unique and meaningful ecological activities and horticultural training to incarcerated men and women with the goal of restoring native habitat for the greater sage-grouse in the great basin region. The project currently is active in nine prisons in five different states. Crew members in the prisons grow sagebrush from seed, and water, weed, thin, and fertilize the seedlings throughout the spring and summer. In the fall all of the sagebrush seedlings are boxed up and sent to BLM restoration sites to be planted. Many of these sites previously burned in wildfires which quickly are taken over by invasive weeds like cheetgrass. By planting sagebrush seedlings the areas are able to recover more quickly to providing habitat for sage-grouse once again.

For her tireless work for the Sagebrush in Prisons project, Stacy Moore, Ecological Education Program Director, was named a 2018 Difference Maker 100 by TIAA, a leading provider of financial services nationwide. This inspiring project provides both habitat and hope for inmates involved. Moore was selected from among more than 4,000 entries. Read More

Local School Ecological Education Outreach Projects

We work with teachers, students, and volunteers in the local community to foster outdoor-based ecological education.

  • Engaging in habitat restoration around the local Corvallis area
  • Growing native plants in school greenhouses
  • Monitoring stream health, tracking of invasive species removal success
  • Classroom lessons about watersheds and native ecosystems

Are you a teacher, administrator, parent, or community member wanting to get involved with IAE's education programs?  Please contact us if you have any questions or wish to form a partnership.