Educator Summer Conference
Rooting Into Place: Teaching Native Plants In & Out of the Classroom aims to inspire educators to view the outdoors as enriching teaching spaces and connect with native plants across classroom content areas. At this one-day summer conference, educators will gain a deeper understanding of the critical role California native plants play in shaping positive relationships between youth, the outdoors, and local biodiversity. Through guided garden walks led by professional horticulturalists in the Museum's Nature Gardens, interactive workshops focused on equipping educators with practical tools, and fun, botanical-inspired networking opportunities, this conference will provide opportunities for educators to build stewardship around the preservation of California native plants and the places they call home.
This event is open to Pre-K–12 formal classroom educators and administrators, homeschool educators, and informal educators.
Conference registration fees are $75 per person and include breakfast and lunch. For Title I school staff (teachers and administrators), registration is offered at a discounted rate of $50. We are also offering a limited number of scholarships to cover conference fees for educators who could not otherwise attend. The scholarship application form is now closed. All scholarship recipients will be notified by email by Friday, June 2, 2023.
- Guided Garden Walk
- Interactive Workshops
- Free Resources
- Networking Opportunities
- Botanical-Inspired Happy Hour & Music
Schedule of Events
8:00 am – 9:00 am: Registration & Breakfast
9:00 am – 9:30 am: Welcome & Opening Panel
9:45 am – 10:15 am: Guided Garden Walk & Nature Journaling
10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Workshop Sessions: Morning
12:00 pm – 12:45 pm: Lunch & Networking
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm: Workshop Sessions: Afternoon
2:45 pm – 3:30 pm: Closing Panel & Raffle
3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Monarch Mingle Happy Hour & Concert with Sage Against the Machine
Director of Education, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Molly Porter, Director, Education received an M.S. Ed in Leadership in Museum Education from Bank Street College of Education, and a Bachelors in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been with the Natural History Museum for 14 years, and in the field of museum education for over 20 years. During her years with the Natural History Family of Museums, Ms. Porter has created an entirely new suite of school and teacher programs at both NHM and the La Brea Tar Pits Museum to meet the changing needs of formal educators today, including teacher workshops, multi-day teacher institutes, and guided programs for students, early childhood aged through high school. Prior to her time at NHMLA, Ms. Porter worked at institutions in Southern California including Kidspace Children’s Museum, Skirball Cultural Center and the Huntington and across diverse content areas and audiences including adults, families, school and teacher audiences, and in collections.
Jun Bando, Ph.D
Executive Director, California Native Plant Society
Dr. Jun Bando is an ecologist with a 20-year career spanning higher education, international diplomacy, and advocacy. Before coming to CNPS, Jun was the Senior Advisor for Strategy and Transformation at the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). Prior to her work with CCST, Jun served as a special advisor and diplomat for the U.S. government, a lecturer at San Jose State University and the University of San Francisco, and consultant to the CSU Office of the Chancellor. She has degrees from San Jose State University and the University of California, Davis, where she earned her PhD in Ecology. She is thrilled to be part of an amazing team of people working to power the native plant movement through both head and heart.
Executive Director, Theodore Payne Foundation
Evan Meyer is the Executive Director at Theodore Payne Foundation, a nonprofit focused on advocating for native plants in Southern California landscapes and sharing their myriad benefits to habitats and communities with the public. He began his botanical career in 2008 as an undergraduate research assistant studying native plant restoration in the coastal prairies of Northern California. Prior to his current position, Evan worked at the Native Plant Trust, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Harvard University Herbaria, California Botanical Garden, and UCLA Botanical Garden. He is broadly interested in the intersections of botany, horticulture, environmental conservation and public engagement.
1 of 1
The Art of Native Plants: Connecting to Local Ecology through Mural Painting
In this hands-on creative workshop, Studio Tutto will lead participants in a collective mural painting inside the Natural History Museum. The site-specific mural will feature native species from the museum's gardens. Through active and collaborative painting, participants will create connections with the specific species honored in the mural. During our workshop together we will paint a mural, share how we bond with nature through story-telling and art-making, and provide a take-home lesson that will invite students to connect to local nature through an interdisciplinary art installation. The finished collaborative mural will be a lasting contribution to the Natural History Museum and spark curiosity for years to come!
Studio Tutto is an LA-based public art team led by artists Sofia Laçin and Hennessy Christophel. We design and fabricate site-specific artwork to bring inviting color, organic texture and appreciation of nature to all kinds of spaces. Our artwork tells stories that are both big picture, like that of the changing seasons, and intimate, like that of the nurturing relationship between the monarch butterfly and milkweed. Whether we are telling a macro story or a micro story, we endeavor to inspire a sense of awe and respect for our natural world. In over a decade we’ve made more than 85 installations across California. Our work ranges from land art to hand-painted murals to site-specific sculpture. Through a thoughtful process that considers community, geography, history, aesthetics and environmental context, we seek to create artwork that harmonizes with its environment and connects with the community.
Put Your Nature Eyes On:
Community Science as a Tool for Hands-on Science In or Out of the Classroom
Community science empowers students to connect with nature, develop independent and collaborative learning skills, increases their sense of environmental agency all while having fun! Join Sam Tayag & Lila Higgins of the NHMLAC’s Community Science Program to help you and your students “put your nature eyes on.” They’ll share hands and eyes-on strategies to help students and teachers connect to nature in and around the classroom. We’ll explore ways to look for, observe, identify, and document nature–all of which have been proven to work with youth ages 5-19. These experiences lead to making community science data points, which help us to better understand and protect nature in our cities and around the world.
Lila Higgins (she/they), who joined the museum in 2008, is a museum educator with almost two decades of experience in museum education and community science programming. Their fascination with nature started early; she grew up on a farm in the U.K. where she spent her time chasing butterflies, playing in hollow trees, and pretending to be a badger. Lila was a lead educator on the Museum’s newest nature-themed exhibits—the Nature Lab and Nature Gardens. They also authored the book Wild LA. and co-founded a global community science event called the City Nature Challenge. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Entomology from UC Riverside and a Master’s degree in Environmental Education from California State University, San Bernardino.
Sam Tayag (they/them) joined the museum in 2021. Their roots in community science grow from field research with their Grandma as a child in the lahar fields of the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption. There they saw the power of community knowledge and mutual aid with the land applied to scientific research. They work to support community relationships to the land and natural science as a California Naturalist, former nurse, community organizer, and ASTC Community Science Dialogue & Deliberation Fellow. They center their family’s traditional Indigenous ways of learning and connecting, including their experience as a parent to an awesome young child.
Native Plants Across Content Areas:
How to Teach CA Native Plants in ELA, SS, and STEAM (With or Without a Garden!)
Did you know teaching CA native plants is a joyful and relevant way to meet state standards? Learn about how to use poppies in your morning routine, dissolving plant invisibility, and meeting state standards using the "plants as text"! This workshop will teach you how to incorporate native plant content across multiple content areas, both inside and outside your classroom. Leave empowered in centering native plant curriculum as an important part of teaching locally and beyond.
Anjali Berger is Education Manager at Theodore Payne Foundation. She has over a decade of experience as a K-12 teacher and teacher-trainer in NYC public schools and the Dominican Republic. She believes in experiential and joyful learning and is passionate about the beauty and importance of California native ecology.
Image courtesy of Marcela Oñate-Trules.
Using the Outdoor Classroom
Learn about how we support learning in the "outdoor classroom" here at the Natural History Museum! You'll hear about ways you can take your learning outside with tips & tricks for student support, hands-on practice with engaging activities that connect with classroom content and standards, and an introduction to how you can grow your outdoor learning spaces on your school campus.
A Cahuilla Native Perspective on Plants & Their Uses
Join Aaron Saubel of the Malki Museum in learning about the power and importance of California native plants from a Cahuilla knowledge tradition, passed down from generations. This informative workshop will cover over eight Native plants, with a hands-on focus on material usage such as cordage and acorn processing.
Aaron Saubel is a volunteer at Malki Museum and as of 2020 is an Executive Board Member for Malki, where he serves as the board secretary. He is a long time resident of Morongo Band of Mission Indians Reservation located in Banning, CA. Aaron is a tribal member and former councilman for his tribe Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeno Indians. He is currently enrolled at California Indian Nations College (CINC) for a degree in Business Associate's Degree.
Image courtesy of Theodore Payne Foundation.
Activating Your School Garden
Looking for a way to bring student voices and stories into your garden space? Join California Native Plant Society staff in this engaging and informative workshop where we will explore and discuss the benefits of incorporating storytelling and interactive opportunities in your garden with interpretive signage.
Jen Aguilar is an Education Specialist, Youth & Community Programming at the California Native Plant Society. She has 10 years of experience working in informal education across various institutions in Los Angeles. Her passion for Education has only grown stronger over the years, and she hopes to continue inspiring people to be curious and create lasting connections with the natural world.
1 of 1
IMPORTANT EVENT INFORMATION
- We encourage you to carpool or use public transportation to and from the conference. The Natural History Museum is easily accessible by Metro! Hop off the Expo Line at the Expo/USC or Expo/Vermont stations and walk 5 minutes to the museum entrance.
- Free parking will be available to attendees who arrive before 9AM. Parking will be available in the NHM Car Park located off of Bill Robertson Lane.
- Breakfast and lunch will be provided with registration. Help reduce waste at this event by bringing your own reusable water bottle and/or hot beverage cup!
- While we love welcoming your families to our museums, this specific program is intended for formal and informal educators who are adults (18+).
- In-person events are subject to cancellation due to low registration, inclement weather, or changes in COVID safety measures.
- This event will take place indoors and outdoors. Participants will be asked to sit, stand, and walk for extended periods of time. Please come prepared with appropriate walking shoes and sun protection.
- We aim to make NHM an exciting, educational, and enjoyable experience for everyone. If you have any questions about this event and the accommodation services we offer, contact our Call Center at 213.763.3466 or email@example.com. We ask that any requests for special accommodations be made at least 48 hours in advance.