FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington announces its second annual nature-based education summer institute to help educators inspire their students. Registration is now open to formal and informal educators at every level. 

The full-day conference will be held Saturday, June 24. Pre-conference workshops and an evening presentation will be held Friday, June 23. Sessions for both days will be held at venues on the UMF campus and at local outdoor areas.

This year’s summer institute has expanded to include curriculum for students from birth through high school. Sessions will include exploring nature through agriculture, journaling with adolescents, demonstrating proficiency through nature-based education and more.

In addition, related sessions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be offered, making the connections between nature and physics, engineering, mathematics and integrating technology.

Saturday’s featured keynote is Michelle Rupiper, Ph.D., distinguished educator, author and international speaker. Her presentation will explore how nature-based learning supports the ability to pay attention, plan, remember, use self-control and solve problems, often referred to as executive functions.

Friday’s pre-conference workshops consist of full and half-day outdoor sessions where educators will learn the creative beauty, history and healing characteristics of nature. In the evening, Deborah Schein, Ph.D., notable early childhood educator, will speak on the transformation of STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, to STREAM, or science, technology, reading, engineering, arts and math. This new acronym is more inclusive of developing whole children and builds upon a definition of spiritual development usable for all children.

Schein is an educational consultant and teaches early childhood graduate courses at Champlain College.

The lecture is sponsored by the Biosophical Institute, a Maine foundation that provides grants and scholarships furthering character and peace education.

For cost, registration forms and more information on all sessions, visit

Michelle Rupiper

Deborah Schein

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