What to Expect at the Virtual Place-Based Symposium


For the past four years, we here at Teton Science Schools have been bringing our community together for our annual Place-Based Education Symposium. It’s an event that was designed as a way to celebrate the place-based work happening across the organization, and it brings our faculty, staff, AmeriCorps, students and regional community members together to share and discuss best practices in local learning and global citizenship.

This year, in the wake of a global pandemic, the Place-Based Education Symposium is going virtual for the first time ever. Now, instead of just welcoming our local community, we’re opening the Symposium “doors” to our community across the U.S. and beyond. We’re thrilled to extend the reach of this inspiring, educational and fun event!

Because so many of our guests this year will be joining for the first time ever (made possible this year because of this new format), we thought we’d share a little on what to expect and gain from the experience.

So here’s what you need to know:

The Venue

This year, the entire Symposium will be held on Zoom.

(Don’t worry, we’ll be sending out more detailed tech instructions to those who RSVP.)

The Agenda

The Symposium will kick-off at 4 p.m. MST. That means you’ll want to jump on Zoom a few minutes early so we can have an on-time start. At 4 p.m. you’ll hear a welcome from our Science Committee and some important announcements for the rest of the evening.

At 4:15p we’ll jump into presentations!

The Presentations

There are two types of presentations that you’ll have an opportunity to attend at this year’s Symposium: Individual presentations and Pecha Kucha.

Individual Presentations

These presentations will occur in the first hour of the Symposium and will be broken into four concurrent tracks: Application of Place-Based Education, Community Impact through Place-Based Education, Place-Based Education beyond the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and Standards & Place-Based Education. Individual presentations are 15 minutes long and there will be three presentations in each track. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend any session they would like, regardless of track. For example, you might attend your first session in the Application of Place-Based Education track, your second session in Community Impact through Place-Based Education and so on.

Here’s a little teaser of some presentations we’ll see this year:

Going from Textbooks to a Place-Based County-Wide Nature School by Mike Szydlowski (a Place Network partner from Missouri!)

Owner’s Manual for the Human Brain: A Sixth and Seventh Grade Community Impact Project by Kate Gessford (Place Network Faculty)

From the Tetons to the Himalayas: An Evolving Place-Based Partnership in Bhutan by Emma Griffith (our latest Graduate Fellow to return from Bhutan!)

Ready to RSVP yet?


Pecha Kucha

For the second hour of the Symposium, everyone will join together for a series of Pecha Kucha presentations. These presentations are 15 slides long with 20 seconds of commentary on each slide (so, roughly five minute presentations). They’re fast and fun!

Here’s a few to look forward to:

The Youth Ambassadors for Wilderness: Cultivate Conservation Leaders of Tomorrow by Peggie dePasquale (Graduate Program Alumnus)

Tackling Single Use Plastics with Elementary Students by Shannon Shuptrine (Place Network Faculty)

Let the Kid Guide: Putting Nature Back into Our Lives by Margot Angstrom (Director of Place Network Online)

Ok, now are you ready to RSVP?

The Keynote Address

Our Keynote address is always one of the most captivating and moving parts of the evening. This year, Jordan Dresser, a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe located on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming, will join us for an address titled, “Feather to Feather: The Power of Storytelling.”

Dresser graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and has since co-produced the documentary What Was Ours — a film that touches on the lives of three individuals from the Wind River Indian Reservation and their journey to The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois — as well as a film titled, The Art of Home: A Wind River Story (you can stream this one online beforehand!).

The Awards

Finally, we’ll cap off the evening with awards for our favorite presentations. We’ll choose the best individual and best pecha kucha presentations. And this year, everyone’s a judge and a learner! Participants will receive instructions on how to vote at the Symposium.

Well, that’s it. We’re so excited to have the opportunity and technology to bring this inspiring event to everyone’s home this year. We hope to see you there!



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