Educator Workshops

2018-19 Educator Workshops



June 23, 2019 - June 30, 2019

This is our seventh Mountains to the Gulf (M2G) event. Many past participants have called this the most amazing 8 days of a teacher’s professional life!

Camp McDowell partners with several other organizations in an amazing teacher expedition called Mountains to the Gulf. A group of twenty-five teachers from across Alabama is selected to travel the state of Alabama for a week with some of the Southeast’s top experts on geology, watersheds, herpetology, and ecology. Some of the experts who usually participate are Dr. Jim Lacefield, author of Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks, Dr. Bill Deutsch, founder of Alabama Water Watch, Trish Smrecek, geologist and paleontologist, Dr. Scot Duncan, author of Southern Wonder: Alabama's Surprising Biodiversity, and Jimmy Stiles, herpetologist. They guide the teacher group through all ecoregions of the state.

Stops are made along the way at Little River Canyon, Cheaha State Park, Montgomery, Conecuh National Forest, and Dauphin Island. We gather fossils from roadside cuts and stream beds across the state of Alabama. The final two days are spent at Dauphin Island Sea Lab where we explore salt marsh estuaries and go out on their research vessel to trawl and learn about the living species in our gulf waters. We stay in hotel style lodging along the way and travel in a charter bus.

The primary sponsor for M2G is Legacy, Partners in Environmental Education ( Other partners include Environmental Education Association of Alabama (EEAA), Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Alabama Water Watch and, of course, McDowell Environmental Center.

To register or learn more information go to the Legacy website! Registration should be up soon.

For more information about any of these, please contact Maggie Johnston at with “2019 educator workshops” in the subject line.

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A Sense of Scale! Using Your Earth to Teach Earth Systems Science

June 10, 2019 8am - June 12, 2019 3:30pm

A Sense of Scale

Join us for this Earth Science workshop that uses nature, objects found in your schoolyard, and digital resources like Google Earth to help learners explore the world on a variety of scales. We'll zoom into small objects using Private Eye techniques, and zoom out to explore our position in space and time! Expect to go on a few hikes, collect some samples to take back to your classroom, and connect with other teachers. We'll share some of our fun curriculum and offer tips on how to adapt it to your classroom and learners!

Dr. Trisha Smrecak will lead this inquiry-based approach to learning and teaching Earth Science. We will get outside and explore the natural world with our senses. We will learn how to create a learning environment in our classrooms that will get students excited about learning geology and earth systems!

Come join the fun! Registration will be open soon!

The cost will be a $75 registration fee. What a great deal for a full three days of fun and learning!


Farming and Fungi- The role of decomposition on the farm and in your classroom

February 17, 2019 - February 18, 2019

Join us for a two day, one night experience learning about Farming and Fungi- The role of decomposition on the farm and in your classroom. An exploration of the differences between bacterial and fungal decomposition in field and forest for fertility and soil building capacities, this class will include multiple composting demonstrations as well as log inoculation for shiitake and oyster mushroom cultivation.

We will stay in the hotel style lodging at Camp McDowell and eat delicious meals with some of the food coming from our very own Farm! In February, we usually have new baby goats all well! A special treat.

TO register click here! There is a $25 deposit fee to hold your spot, but the rest of the two day, one night experience is fully grant funded. Questions? Contact for more information with "Farming and Fungi" in the subject line please.