2014 Place-base Education Conference

The 4th annual Great Lakes Place-based Education Conference brings together practitioners and teachers from formal and non-formal education, local partners from communities across the region, and staff of other organizations, all of whom provide vital leadership and resources to the cause of developing environmental stewards of the Great Lakes and its ecosystems.

This year's conference is in Grand Rapids and sessions will take place in one of the two locations noted below.

  • Eberhard Center, Grand Valley State University
    (301 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, MI 49504 | Map
  • DeVos Center
    (401 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids, MI ‎ | MapGVSU Directions)

Conference Highlights Include

Kickoff Field Trips/Workshops (Thursday, November 6)

Back by popular demand! These sessions are organized by the staff of Groundswell (a regional hub of the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative and a co-host of our 2014 conference). Click here for a description of the available field trips!

There is an additional registration fee for these workshops (fee ranges from $70 to $89). Choose a field trip/workshop when you register online!

Conference Sessions (Friday–Saturday, November 7–8)

We’re back with our successful two-day format featuring keynote speakers, presentations, and networking opportunities. The two-day registration fee is $150. The one-day registration fee is $100.

Want a sneak peek at what you can expect at this year's conference? We now have a handful of our more than 70 conference sessions for your viewing pleasure. Click here for a peek!

Our registration tables will be open 8:00 am to 9:00 am on Thursday, November 6 for the Kickoff Field Trips and Workshops and will also be available for early conference registration from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Registration will be available from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, November 7th and from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturday, November 8th. For addtional information regarding registation or the conference sessions, please see the agendas posted below.

"Green" Agenda Now Available!

This year we have created an agenda app accessible
by smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Earn SCECHs!

SCECHs (formerly SB-CEUs) offered by Kent County ISD. (Additional fee may apply.)

Calling All Presenters!

We welcome your help in making this meeting an informative, inspiring, and successful event. Please consider sharing your knowledge, insights, and promising practices with your colleagues. Click here to learn more!

Deadline for submitting presentation
proposals is October 6.

Keynote Speakers

  • David T. Sobel is the director of the Center for Place-based Education at Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire. He has written numerous books, including: Children’s Special Places; Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education; Mapmaking with Children: Sense of Place Education for the Elementary Years; and Place-based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities. Much of his work focuses on the relationship between child development, authentic curriculum, and environmental education.
  • Teresa Weatherall Neal has worked for the Grand Rapids Public Schools for 35 years, taking the reins as superintendent in 2012. She is especially committed to helping children in need.
    Ms. Weatherall Neal holds a BS in Public Administration from Grand Valley State University and an MA in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University. She is a graduate of the Michigan Leadership Institute’s Superintendent Leadership Academy.
  • Kim Rowland is a part of her school's leadership team and also teaches middle school science. She has been teaching for seven years and joined the Groundswell team four years ago. She earned her Master's Degree in Education Leadership from in 2012 from Grand Valley State University. She is excited about the way that place-based education has changed the way she teaches and leads.

Who Should Attend?

This Conference is a MUST for:

  • Formal and non-formal educators of any subject or grade level (K–16)
  • School administrators who want to establish a curriculum and related instructional practices that focus on place, inspire students to learn, and forge strong partnerships with the community
  • Foundations, organizations, or community leaders interested in K–12 education, environmental stewardship, and youth or community development
  • Others who want to learn more about place-based education, environmental stewardship, and the Great Lakes region


Hotel Accommodations

  • Online
    • Go to Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown
    • Enter check in and check out dates in the boxes on the left
    • Enter the Group Code: GLP
    • Click “Check Availability”
    • Select your preferred room type
    • Enter your contact information and special request needs
    • Enter your payment information
    • Check the certification box under Terms and Conditions
    • Click Confirm
  • Phone
    • 616-235-7611 and refer to the Group Code: GLP
  • Hotel Address: Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown, 310 Pearl Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
    Parking is free

Previous Conferences