Proudly sponsored by

Immerse yourself in place-based education at the 5th annual Great Lakes Place-Based Education Conference, held in Grand Rapids November 5-7. Listen to keynote speakers who have contributed to positive change in their own communities, attend workshops and field trips, and most of all, have fun learning and showing off best practices within place-based education (PBE).

With all the information and skills you learn at our innovative conference, you will be ready to inspire others and move place-based education forward in your school and communities.

Join us for a cutting-edge conference that is one-of-a-kind in the country. The Great Lakes Place-Based Education Conference features the best practices of putting PBE in action. Hear innovators share how they develop learning experiences that lead to the next generation of stewards, plus dive into a number of hands-on education opportunities.

Interested? Registration is now open!

Register Now!



We regret to inform you that the deadline has passed for presentation applications for the 2015 Place-based Education Conference. We received an overwhelming response from presenters, and this year, the conference will feature more than 80 presentations from experts across the country. 

While we are no longer accepting new applications, we encourage you to consider presenting at the 2016 conference. Thank you for your interest in the conference.



Sponsoring the annual Great Lakes Place-based Education Conference is an excellent way to promote your organization to an influential audience of 400 people in the fields of education and the environment. But first and foremost, it is an investment in the education of our youth as active stewards of the Great Lakes.



Greetings! You can now download the FULL AGENDA. Below is a brief look at the agenda for this year's conference. Continue to check back here often for more conference updates! 

Thursday, November 5

  • 10 AM—Registration
  • 12 Noon—Lunch & conference kickoff
  • Afternoon—Choose your adventure by electing to attend one of our various field trips or workshops, set up a team planning session, or sit in on one of our conference sessions.
  • 5 PM—Join us for a little networking at the Grand Rapids Brewing Company (just a few short steps away from the Eberhard Center).

Download Thursday's Agenda

Friday, November 6

  • 7 AM—Registration & breakfast
  • 8 AM—Welcome & keynote presentation with Patricia Birkholz, Director of the West Michigan chapter of Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV)
  • 9 AM—Conference sessions
  • 11 AM—Keynote address with Chad Pregracke, President and Founder, Living Lands and Waters and National Geographic Speakers Bureau Member
  • 12 PM—Lunch & Chad Pregracke book signing
  • Afternoon—Choose your adventure by electing to attend one of our various field trips or workshops, set up a team planning session, or sit in on one of our conference sessions.
  • 5 PM—Join us at the Grand Rapids Public Museum in the Van Andel Center, for the annual Dragonfly Award and a tour of the museum and new museum school.

Download Friday's Agenda

Saturday, November 7

Download Saturday's Agenda


The Grand Valley State University College of Education is a proud sponsor of the Great Lakes Place-based Education Conference. The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a proud sponsor of the Friday Reception. A special thank you to Brewery Vivant.


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

While Holiday Inn rooms at the discounted conference rate are now sold out, there are still rooms available at the average rate of $190 per night. Other hotels in the area include Courtyard by Marriot, which has rooms available from $190 to $210. Listed below are links and phone numbers to the hotels where you can book online or call.

Previous Conferences