Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science, a free, three-day, grant-funded professional development opportunity for middle and high school science educators, based at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California, with all room and board included.


The application period for this summer's Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science is now closed. If you wish to pay the registration fee to join us this summer, please read the Eligibility section below for more details, and then email us for the registration form. You can add your name and contact info to the 2023 notification list to receive an update when the application period for next summer's program opens.

Teacher Workshops Overview

Our free professional development workshops for middle school and high school science teachers began with 12 participants in the summer of 2006. A dozen high school life science teachers from all over Southern California were invited to the Beckman Center for Conservation Research, housed behind the scenes at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, to experience a week in the life of a conservation scientist. The pilot program focused on the conservation history and recovery of the California condor, and was designed to bring topics of conservation science into local classrooms.

Over a decade later, we have built a nationally recognized and fully accredited program with a stellar reputation for giving teachers access to unparalleled information and experiences. To date, we have trained more than 1,500 middle and high school science teachers and informal science educators from all 50 states and 22 countries. Participants spend their days in intensive study in the Conservation Education Lab and their evenings at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, engaging with staff members and acquiring invaluable new skills to take back to their home campuses. During the workshop, teachers work together to frame content standards in the context of wildlife conservation and explore ways to challenge students to apply textbook knowledge of life science to current biodiversity challenges. Participants engage in activities that focus on critical issues facing endangered species using a variety of advanced technical tools and techniques; all activities support the Next Generation Science Standards and can be implemented back in the classroom. Our generous grant-funding allows this residential program to include all meals, lodging and materials for free, as well as a $500 stipend to help offset any travel or childcare expenses, paid upon full completion of the program.

In 2018, we grew yet again by piloting workshops in three new locations: Hawai'i, Michigan, and Kenya. From these came amazing new partnerships and opportunities to work with teachers where they are, and we are excited to now offer yearly workshops in Hawai'i alongside our colleagues at Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation Centers. These workshops are tailored just for Hawaiian educators, thanks to generous grant funding.

Video of TW Alumni by State

Video of Potential Student Impact of TW by State



If you are interested in donating to this program, please contact Alexis Goldring at agoldring@sdzwa.org.



We welcome applications from both informal and formal educators around the country who work with Grade 6–12 audiences. For formal Grade 6–12+ educators, our emphasis is now on site teams of 2–3, with at least one science teacher “anchor,” and 1–2 non-science teachers interested in incorporating conservation in their subjects and engaging in cross-curricular projects centered on student action and wildlife conservation!

Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science is a free, professional development program. We also offer a registration option for educators with access to professional development funds that can cover the cost of attending Teacher Workshops. Educators who wish to register (as opposed to apply for the workshop for free) and guarantee their spot will pay a $2,000 fee, which includes all the same experiences and accommodations as applicants, minus the stipend.

Hawai'i workshops are back! During March spring break, we plan to deliver two workshops in Hawai'i—one on Hawai'i Island for Grade 6–8 educators and one on Maui for Grade 6–12 educators. Applicants to these workshops are restricted to the islands of Hawai'i and Kauai for the Hawai'i Island workshop, and Maui for the Maui workshop. Our generous grant funding allows these programs to include meals and materials for free, as well as a $250 stipend to help offset any travel or childcare expenses, paid upon full completion of the program.

Program Time Commitment & Coursework

Participants in our San Diego workshops can expect to spend approximately nine hours completing online assignments via Google Classroom prior to their in-person dates. For these traditional summer workshops, in-person dates include lodging, meals, conservation science modules, evening special experiences, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park exploration. A typical day starts with breakfast at 7 a.m., and wraps up for personal time by 8 p.m.

Hawai'i Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science

We are so excited to host two workshops with our colleagues in Hawai‘i! Both workshops include a $250 stipend (paid upon full completion of the workshop) to help offset any childcare or travel related costs, and are eligible for 3 PD credits through our course in PDE3. These workshops are open to 24 people max.

In-person dates for the Hawai'i Teacher Workshops will take place at Kilauea Military Camp (KMC) at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and include private lodging at KMC, meals, conservation science modules, and a trip to Keauhou Bird Conservation Center! A typical day in this residential program starts with breakfast at 8 a.m., and wraps up with dinner at 6 p.m. 

In-person dates for the first-ever Maui Teacher Workshops will take place at the Maui Bird Conservation Center and include meals, conservation science modules, and more. A typical day will start around 9 a.m. and wrap up around 5 p.m., with more updates to come! We're excited to announce that participants of this workshop will also be eligible for funds to use at school to implement Hawai‘i bird conservation projects with their students thanks to generous grant funding. 

COVID-19 Precautions

Beginning in 2020, we made significant adjustments to continue offering this important in-person workshop to some of America's hardest working people: teachers. Due to the pandemic, we may restrict applicants to our San Diego workshops to only those in a certain geographical region (this will be determined in April), form smaller groups, require face coverings to be worn at all times, and/or practice physical distancing. Private hotel rooms will be provided. We had zero cases of COVID-19 reported back to us in 2020 and 2021, and received great feedback that our participants (even those who were nervous prior to participating) felt safe and got a lot out of the experience. We will likely follow a similar format for San Diego and Hawai'i workshops, but this will be dependent on local State and County restrictions at the time. Please be aware that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test may be required for participation in both San Diego and Hawai'i Teacher Workshops, and all Teacher Workshops staff are fully vaccinated.

2023 Teacher Workshops 

Applications for Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science will open by early February 2023. Tentative dates for this summer are listed below.

Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science in Escondido, California:
July 10–12
July 17–19
July 24–26
July 31–August 2
August 7–9

Program Contact: teacherworkshops@sdzwa.org


Teacher Workshops in Conservation Science Alumni

If you have any questions about the curriculum or kit program that you learned about during Teacher Workshops, please email us at teacherworkshops@sdzwa.org and we'll get back to you ASAP. 

If your school or contact info has changed since you attended Teacher Workshops, please reach out to us with your new info so we can keep you in the loop about field trip and kit opening announcements. 

If you are interested in field trips at the Beckman Center or the Advanced Inquiry Program Master's degree, head on over to those pages to learn more!

You are our number one asset in making conservation impact. Thank YOU for all you do as educators to inspire a passion for nature in your students, now more than ever. If there is any way we can support conservation science in your classroom, please email us and let us know. And thank you for spreading the word about Teacher Workshops every spring!

Teacher Workshops Flyer