Scientists in Residence


A school system where the outdoors is interconnected to the foundation of every day.

Schools that do not have to make the choice between less recess time and more reading time.

Students that are healthier, happier, more creative, and inspired by the world around them.

The Scientist in Residence program is a 5-year partnership with our local schools to transform their students’ relationships with the outdoors. We know each and every community and school is unique, and that means each Scientist in Residence program needs to be unique too!

Through the Scientist in Residence program, Riveredge places an environmental educator directly into the school district. This educator becomes a key part of the school team and works hand-in-hand with teachers and administrators to reduce barriers to outdoor learning.

The goal is not to add more to teachers’ plates but to help integrate the outdoors into the lessons already being taught. Whether it be teaching math with items collected on a nature hike or showing geology in action on the banks of a riverbed, teachers can expand their knowledge and comfort without having to commit to large amounts of extra work.

Scientists in Residence do things like…

Direct teach integrated lessons outdoors
blue sketch of 2 dragonflies
Co-teach with classroom staff
Adapt lessons to the outdoor setting
Partner with other Riveredge Nature Center staff to improve outdoor areas surrounding the schools
Leverage financial resources to build sets of outdoor science-inquiry equipment

Teach professional development to school staff
Build curriculum resources easily accessible for all school staff

In the News

On YouTube

Watch Now


Read Now

Wisconsin Public Radio

Read Now


partnering school districts: Cedarburg, West Bend, Northern Ozaukee, and LUMIN Schools


school natural areas created or improved

14,544 students

1,804 teachers, and 566 community members contacts over 5-years in West Bend


of teachers plan to continue outdoor learning after the 5-year partnership concluded

Over $500,000+

of staff time contributed to the region’s school systems

“How have outdoor learning experiences impacted your students?”

Teacher responses included

The Scientist in Residence was the go-to person for ideas on outdoor education. Students are very engaged in the outdoor activities.  They look forward to them and seem to like them a lot.

It gives them the opportunity to learn first hand, make observations, and apply what they have learned.

Students love and live for our outdoor experiences.  They constantly tie their learning to the experiences outdoors.  Today I received a picture of my student saying… I found a decomposer like you asked!  She had a picture of a Morel Mushroom. Love that when it happens.

Students become more cognizant of their world beyond the four walls in our classroom. Even when we did a litter pick-up they became more vigilant about plants and animals in our world.

It gives them the opportunity to learn and it invigorates even the most reluctant learner- it also lays the groundwork for creating environmentally aware young adults.

Many students need a hands-on experience to connect to their classroom learning and deepen their retention of the material.  The Outdoor Classroom is a great way to provide that link!

“How did the Scientist in Residence partnership impact your teaching or planning?”

Teacher responses included

Very helpful! She had an abundance of  information, knowledge, and resources available (both lessons and tools).  Her support and resources allowed me to implement lessons in an effective and efficient manner.

I spent several days planning with [the SIR] and developing lessons with her.

I enjoyed the support and team teaching. The students had fun and learned vocabulary quickly.

The Scientist in Resident was the go to person for ideas on outdoor learning experiences. The SIR always had awesome ideas to outdoor learning. I had the SIR lead out lessons for my classes in the past.

Become a Member

Take advantage of all the benefits of a Riveredge membership year round!

Learn More