"Park for Every Classroom": PDC & National Park Service to Offer Environmental Justice Seminar Series for DC Teachers

Activating through Place: Developing Voice & Agency through Learning about Environmental Justice

From June 25-27, 2024, the PDC and the National Park Service are teaming up to offer a free professional development seminar series on the National Mall for DC teachers. The series will explore environmental justice issues, with a specific focus on climate change, and will feature content and pedagogical tools that teachers can use and adapt in their own setting.

Educators in the District of Columbia who teach children from preschool through high school are eligible to apply.

Applications were due March 15, 2024. 


In early 2023, the PD Collaborative teamed up with Jennifer Rudnick, National Park Service (NPS) Education Specialist at the National Mall and Memorial Parks, Riana Fisher, Middle School Science Teacher at Sacred Heart School, and Kendra Heffelbower, a Math/STEM Coach at Langley Elementary School (DCPS), to take part in the 2023 Park for Every Classroom (PEC) cohort. Along with NPS education specialists, classroom educators, and assorted nonprofit education partners from five other NPS sites across the country–including American Samoa!–the DC team engaged in developing a professional development opportunity for local teachers to learn about equity-centered climate change education.

Park for Every Classroom, as stated on its website, is an “education-based partnership that brings together the National Park Service, local classrooms, and community partners…to use their authentic experiences in the parks & communities to offer educator professional development aimed at deeper learning opportunities for students.” The partnership consists of the National Park Service’s Region 1 (formerly the Northeast Region), Shelburne Farms, and NPS’s Stewardship Institute (formerly the Conservation Study Institute), and has been connecting teachers, park staff, and community educators since 2011. 

A woman sits by the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and bends over her notebook. A group of children in winter coats listen to a Park Ranger at the foot of the Lincoln Statue in the Lincoln Memorial. A group of teachers pose happily at the foot of the stairs at the Lincoln Memorial. The reflecting pool and Washington Monument are in the background.

All members of the 2023 PEC cohort met monthly for virtual seminars, as well as in person for a week-long institute in July at Rocky Mountain National Park. Each PEC site was expected to design and facilitate a professional learning experience for K-12 educators by summer 2024. After the completion of the year-long experience, all cohort teams joined the growing PEC Community of Practice to continue learning from each other.

The other sites in the 2023 PEC Cohort are:

  • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, KY
  • Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville, FL
  • Lowell National Historical Park in Lowell, MA
  • Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, VT
  • National Park of American Samoa in Pago Pago, American Samoa


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