Teacher Fellowship

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Acadia Teach Fellowship Transcript
Produced by Emma Forthofer, Acadia Youth Technology Team 2017
Intro music
Kristen Fox: So within the first five minutes it was pretty obvious that we were going to be a very tightly connects  group. We immediately got along and got to know each other. I would say all of us are passionate about children, about what we do and even though we are all different and from different areas and teach different things and different ages we appreciate each other and we learn a lot from each other
David Burks: It’s been very powerful for the last six weeks to work on something that we are very passionate about. For the teachers that come to this program to work together and develop programs that they can export to the classroom but more importantly to bring the students to this classroom, in the forest in Acadia National Park and just to learn about all the resources that are there it’s just amazing how much there is here. And I really believe that’s the real purpose of it, is just to keep the steawardship growing.
Hannah Podurgiel: I think the purpose of the teacher fellowship program is to number 1: expose teachers, to what our national parks have to offer, we’re here in Acadia and so seeing what this place has to offer but in a broader sense we’re learning about the whole park system and what that can offer to students as a resource. And then we get to take that back into our classrooms and hopefully share the joy that we have experienced here with our students back in our classrooms. And hopefully inspire them to be excited about coming into the parks and excited about nature and taking care of not just national parks but where there from. So we’re kinda the bridge between these natural places and so many students and we do have the power as teachers to interact with so many people who are going to be the future of those taking care of the earth
Kristen Fox: So I think my children are going to notice a very excited teacher and they are going to get a big kick out of the fact that I wore this shirt and I had this hat. Just that alone is going to be very exciting for them.
Stacie Pepperd: So going into this program I wasn’t really sure how it was going to play out, however this has exceeded any expectation I had because we got to do it all, we got to meet people, we got to meet the researchers, we got to be in nature almost every single day while doing really neat things that we know can help the park.
Hannah Podurgiel: A typical day is so much fun. We get together as a group in the morning, go over what we are going to be doing for the day, and then head out on an adventure. It’s been amazing. We have been out in the field with research scientists, or going on ranger programs, or just going out into the field and learning ourselves, going and experiencing nature on a hike.  So every day looks a little bit different we have also been doing quite a bit of the curriculum development that is going to be used by the park. So every day is pretty different actually.
Stacie Pepperd: We got to work with the scientists. Being able to get some of those ideas on how we can, not just work with the scientists being here in park, but what I can do in the classroom to be able to either use their research or even help with their research.  That was the most exciting part for me. I hope to be able to take just all of my experiences and enrich what I do in my regular lessons. And then I hope to work with the researchers by having some specific things that we are doing in Rhode Island to work with what’s happening here.
Victoria Scarpa: Ranger Kate Petrie was a great leader, amazing how she orchestrated all of our experiences and I appreciated her not just telling us what we were going to learn at a spot- she allowed it to happen organically.
Kristen Fox: This program has been valuable in many, many way but on point I’d like to highlight is how there are multiple point of entry just like when you teach a child something, you have children of all different abilities that’s the way this experience has been. With every single ranger that we have spoken with it has been very accessible.
Victoria Scarpa: I actually pushed out of my own comfort zone. I had never been walking in a bog or a pond area, I had never collected insect larva. So just stretching my own comfort zone was a great experience as an ATF. As an out of state teacher I found many more connections than I thought that there would be. This whole six week program was reinvigorating, I can’t wait to get back to the classroom. I feel reenergized and refreshed.
Hannah Podurgiel: If I were to tell other teachers about this program I would tell them that number 1: it’s so fun, you have to do it. To be willing to open yourself up to experiencing everything that this place has to offer, and be flexible. And like I said be willing to go out and do research one day go on a ranger program the next day, do curriculum work the next. That flexibility is really important and if just let yourself do that it’s the most amazing experience- it’s so much fun.
David Burks: I have found there is a treasure trove of things on this island it’s unbelievable. I love my kids so much and when I see things I think of a student. I go “wow!” I want to bring them here. I went to show ‘em this. So that’s the connection I have. But that’s the teacher heart that comes out. That’s what I have experienced in this group. We love our kids so much that we want to absorb as much as we can, so that we can share it with them and especially bring them here so they can really see it, smell it, touch it, you know, and hear it. So that’s the power of Acadia.
Friends of Acadia Credits-
Kristen Fox: I’d like to thank Friends of Acadia for funding this experience and for being so supportive
David Burks: They are phenomenal, what they do to fundraise and also use their resources wisely. And I really believe the teacher fellowship is a very vital part of that whole program. To go out and spread more information and hopefully grow future stewards.

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7 minutes

The Acadia Teacher Fellows program, generously funded by Friends of Acadia and Dawnland LLC, encourages full-time, K-12 public classroom school teachers to spend six weeks learning about diverse natural and cultural resources, and ways to protect them. (Video produced by Emma Forthofer, with Matthew Lambert and Will Greene, Acadia Youth Technology Team 2017)


Applications are open now through February 21st for opportunities in summer 2020.


A Summer Professional Development Opportunity

Imagine spending your summer hiking through spruce-fir forests, exploring tidepools, or sailing on clear waters in search of bald eagles, porpoises, and seals. Leave your classroom behind to do all this and more as a teacher fellow at Acadia National Park. The Acadia Teacher Fellowship connects classroom teachers to the rich cultural, natural, and recreational heritage protected by Acadia National Park. The National Park Service provides teacher fellows with uniforms and shared housing, if needed, as well as a $400 weekly stipend. A certificate of completion and continuing education hours are available.

What would I do in the park?

Teacher fellows become part of the park's interpretation and education division. Duties vary, but each fellow is given the opportunity to engage with the public on programs or on the trail. At the park, possible activities include time with trained interpreters, field researchers, protection rangers, resource management staff, trail crews, teacher institute, and citizen science. Fellows are expected to work on an education project for the park and prepare a place-based lesson plan that will be used in their classrooms and posted on the park's website.

What are the benefits?

To Teachers:

  • Obtain a wide range of new knowledge and skills through working with park staff and partners
  • Gain access to an extensive array of teaching resources and tools to enhance classroom curriculum in multiple content areas
  • Receive a certificate of completion and continuing education hours
  • Begin or deepen a personal and professional connection with national parks

To Schoolchildren:

  • Place-based learning
  • Opportunities and resources to connect to their natural and cultural heritage in new way
  • Awareness of the possibilities for volunteering and paid employment with the National Park Service

What is the time commitment?

Teachers are expected to commit six to eight weeks between June and September. Local teachers may divide this time over the course of the year to meet the needs of teachers and the park.

Who is eligible?

The park accepts applications from all public K-12 teachers. Teachers from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Priority is given to teachers in Maine.

What is expected of me after this program?

Teacher fellows will leave the park with the resources to develop tailored, curriculum-based units that help students better understand their natural and cultural heritage and the importance of shared stewardship.

Fellows are given the opportunity to take their classes to the nearest national park or other public land site. Transportation, entrance and program fees, and substitute teachers are paid for by a park partner. Teachers make the trip arrangements and report on the trip experience.

In the spring, near National Park Week, teacher fellows wear their uniforms to school and present programs to introduce students and staff to the National Park Service and their own experiences at Acadia.

Teachers will be asked to explore the possibilities for creating or enhancing an outdoor classroom and climate change initiatives at their schools. This unique learning space will allow classes in all disciplines to link with and learn from the resources protected by Acadia National Park.

How do I apply?

Acadia Teacher Fellowship Application
Applications are open now through February 21st for opportunities in summer 2020.

Principal Approval Form

Any questions? Contact Kate Petrie, Education Coordinator by email or phone; (207) 288-1312


Quotes from past Teacher Fellows

"I benefited both personally and professionally from this summer. I found my understanding of teaching and learning greatly expanded. This experience has inspired me to incorporate the power of place based learning in my classroom. As the summer ends I feel rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to be back to be a better teacher. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity."
- Ann Luginbuhl, Charlotte Elementary, Charlotte, ME

"Spending the summer as a Teacher Fellow was life changing. I had no idea that a professional development experience could be so productive and enjoyable. This experience solidified something that I already knew… that learning experiences are so much more meaningful when they are active. The citizen science projects inspired me to find and create similar experiences for my students. I have never considered myself a science scholar, but the projects I worked on really sparked my interest and passion in the subject. I hope to have the same effect on my students. Thank you SO much for this opportunity. I would recommend the program and park highly to anyone."
- Natalie Pulsipher, Natchaug School, Willimantic, CT

"Participating in the Teacher Fellow program at Acadia NP was a truly unique and special experience in so many ways, both personally and professionally. I took away a lot of different teaching strategies and activities from the rangers and other teachers I met. Getting to spend my summer outside exploring such a beautiful and inspiring place like Acadia National Park was reenergizing. One of the most special and important parts of the experience was the opportunity to take my middle school students to the national park for a day of tide pooling and exploring outdoors. Kids who normally are reluctant learners in the classroom were engaged and enthusiastic during the trip. Students were having so much fun exploring they forgot they were learning science!"
- Genevieve Smith, James F. Doughty School, Bangor, ME

"The Teacher Fellow program allowed me the opportunity to meet with and practice citizen science projects that I brought back to the classroom. Linking students to real science and their national park makes learning real."
- Kim Scantlebury, Camden Hills Regional High School, Rockport, ME

"I never imagined that being an Acadia Teacher Fellow would open up such an amazing, fulfilling world of discovery for me!! I pinched myself every day I was there, thinking… “Is this really happening to me?! Am I really here doing all this?!” I really learned so much! Along with all my learning, I have been inspired to create an adventure of discovery for my students. Learning should be an exploration where discoveries spark your curiosity to want to learn more! I have numerous ideas and lessons that I gathered while a ATF that I want to apply to our environment. It’s going to be an experience that keeps giving!"
- DeLene Hoffner, School of the Woods, Colorado Springs, CO

"I am a technology teacher by trade. This is my first exposure to the many different disciplines in science and I really liked it. I learned so much. This experience will also help me integrate science into my curriculum, both computer science and a/v production classes. It has shown me how to take my class outdoors. Through hiking, bicycling and exploring the island I feel stronger, both mentally and physically. It is important for teachers to maintain good physical and mental health so they can help students during the school year. Working at Acadia National Parked helped me do this."
- Ronny Armstrong, Boswell High School, Fort Worth, TX

A group of children sitting on a rock overlooking a green valley while a teacher ranger teacher talks
Teacher Nancy delves into glacial geology with a captive audience.


Last updated: December 19, 2019

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Bar Harbor, ME 04609


(207) 288-3338

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