Come join The Center for Learning with Nature for PD this Summer, 

to learn how the fascinating world of innovation inspired by Nature

can enrich your STEM teaching.

This online synchronous course is FREE for upper elementary, middle, or high school STEM teachers this summer only.

What is innovation inspired by Nature? Innovation inspired by Nature (also known as bio-inspiration or biomimicry), is the practice of looking to the natural world to drive technological innovation, such as improving the efficiency of LED lights by studying fireflies. Safer airplanes modeled on the way humpback whales swim,[1] electronics that biodegrade,[2] and cures for malaria based on how slime molds work[3] are all astonishing, hopeful examples of bio-inspired innovation happening in our world today.

Sounds neat, but what does it have to do with STEM? This cutting-edge approach to innovation is now used by professionals across the fields of biology, chemistry, engineering, architecture, and design. Meanwhile, biomimicry-related job growth projections continue to rise. In response, bio-inspiration has increased rapidly across STEM teaching in post-secondary educational institutions, and increasingly in K-12. Help your students become inspired, graduation bound, and college prepped for the jobs of tomorrow.

I get it, but how can it revitalize my STEM teaching? For teachers, bio-inspired innovation is the most exciting way of rediscovering the marvels of Nature since you were a kid. And whatever the STEM subject, bio-inspired innovation is a uniquely effective context for teaching your students: fascinating to learn, exciting to teach, and students love it.


What to expect and what you will come away with:


  • A rich introduction to how bio-inspired innovation is influencing technological development in our society, and how you can use it to enrich your STEM teaching, no matter the subject.
  • Example activities, free online resources, and approaches for using bio-inspiration to meet the NGSS or other educational standards in your existing STEM classes.
  • Three days (῀15 hrs contact time) of interactive synchronous training using video conferencing, outdoor activities, and team projects. An additional 15 hrs of contact time is available through extended learning (additional contact hours may also be available through independent and ongoing PD).
  • An optional, additional day for teachers interested specifically in teaching engineering (and learning about the Engineering Design Inspired by Nature curriculum). We will also explore how to teach engineering through life science (biology) in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • You will never see technology or the natural world the same way again!


The PD will be offered this summer, July 11-13, 10-4 pm each day, Central Time Zone (an optional, additional day focused on engineering is offered on July 15). You will need a computer with camera and high speed internet to participate (for video conferencing). The application deadline is May 25 and space is limited.

If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to email The Center for Learning with Nature’s Director, Sam Stier, at, or apply directly by going to:

Please pass this forward to teachers you think may be interested.



About The Center for Learning with Nature

The Center for Learning with Nature ( is a non-profit organization working since 2013 to enrich youth education through award-winning curricula and teacher training. Through this work, we aim to help teachers foster students’ admiration of the amazing world we live in, their interests and abilities in STEM, and students’ aspirations to invent and support a productive, equitable, and fulfilling world in which people and Nature thrive together.

About the Instructor

Mr. Sam Stier is an award-winning instructional designer, teacher trainer, biologist, and professor of sustainable design who has helped bring the fascinating and hopeful world of bio-inspired innovation to educators and design professionals all over the world. Founder and director of The Center for Learning with Nature, Sam has influenced thousands of teachers and others through his work with organizations including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Diego Zoo, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Biomimicry Institute, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Mexico), Universeum (Sweden), Interface Corporation, National Geographic, United Nations Environment Programme, VF Corporation, Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, World Bank, and others. He is a National Science Foundation Fellowship Awardee, an appointed member of the State of Montana’s Department of Education Task Force on the Next Generation Science Standards, and a professor at Otis College, where he teaches science and sustainable design. He currently resides with his wife, two sons, and two cats in the Midwest.


“I could not have spent my time any better than this. In an age where we have the Next Generation Science Standards directing us to think about teaching science differently and when we have industries saying we need students who have learned differently, this curriculum and the PD provided tools for addressing both of those forces.”

Dr. Brett Criswell, Teacher Trainer, University of Kentucky College of Education