Summer Educator Retreat 2019

Join us for our 2019 Educators Retreat!


View video from the 2015 retreat.


You know it's truly summer when you see a Scarlet Tanager in Sapsucker Woods. Photo by: nebirdsplus(Flickr)

You know it’s truly summer when you see a Scarlet Tanager in Sapsucker Woods. Photo by: nebirdsplus(Flickr)

Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology education team July 16-19, 2019 for the BirdSleuth Educator Retreat at Sapsucker Woods in beautiful Ithaca, New York.

This one-of-a-kind program includes four days of activities, guest speakers, and field trips highlighting best practices and the latest resources to revitalize your educational program or classroom. Get inspired, gain confidence, gather new ideas, and enjoy networking opportunities with educators from around the country. Bring your good walking shoes and lots of energy!



Sapsucker Woods is lovely in the summer. Come take a bird walk with us and use your new Celestron binoculars!

“[This] was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended! I enjoyed it immensely! It was extremely well organized and informative. The presenters were enthusiastic and great at teaching their topic. ” -retreat participant (Joe2018)


During this transformational experience, you will…

  • Receive hands-on training in using citizen science and inquiry in your program.
  • Learn eBird protocols, complete a citizen-science study along the Sapsucker Woods trails, and enjoy guest presentations on environmental conservation.
  • Discover the Cornell Lab’s online field guide, digital library, and citizen-science programs as educational resources for K-12 learning.
  • Enjoy bird walks led by local experts to help you practice bird identification and learn about bird biology.
  • Interact with the experienced and enthusiastic scientists and staff who make the Cornell Lab of Ornithology a world-renowned institution, including behind-the-scenes tours.
  • Receive BirdSleuth’s popular Investigating Evidence unit and our newest kit around eBird (currently under development). You’ll also get a pair of high-quality Celestron® binoculars!
  • Earn 3 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) from Cornell University.
  • Enjoy the natural beauty of Sapsucker Woods and the Finger Lakes with like-minded educators.
  • Practice methods that can be immediately implemented with your students.


“My students LOVE going outside, so they are thrilled that I feel confident and competent enough to take them so often.” – retreat participant comment about the following school year



Enhance your knowledge of birds through field guides, online resources, guest lecturers, and working with your peers.

 Who should attend?

Looking for innovative ways to teach STEM content and develop science literacy? This retreat will support you. We’re focused on helping you incorporate citizen science and inquiry into your classroom, camp, or afterschool or youth development program.

Past participants have raved about their retreat experience:

“Outstanding experience overall!”

“It was amazing. I especially loved the bird watching field trips.”

“I can’t think of a way to make it better, honestly. It was great.”

Logistics, Travel, and Lodging

Use your creativity to create your own bird!

Location and Time

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is located in Ithaca, NY. Our local airport is Ithaca Tompkins County. Syracuse, Elmira, and Binghamton airports are each about an hour away.

Arrival, check-in, and snacks are from 10:00-11:00am on Tuesday, July 16th. The Retreat begins promptly at 11am and concludes Friday, July 19th at 3:00 pm.



Dorm Option 

Check back for information regarding dorm options

Hotel Option

We will be reserving a block of rooms at Courtyard Ithaca hotel. Please check back for rates.



Explore Sapsuckers Woods up close and become familiar with engaging activities you can do with students.

 Cost and Registration

Workshop costs are being supplemented by grant and sponsor funds. The registration fee is $495 which includes

  • Two BirdSleuth citizen science and inquiry kits ($160-170 value)
  • Delicious meals and plenty of snacks during workshop hours. All meals from lunch Wednesday to lunch Saturday are included as well as the picnic on Friday night in a gorgeous local state park. You may bring a guest to the picnic for a small extra charge.
  • Hands-on training, tours, and bird walks (most led by Cornell Lab experts!)
  • A pair of binoculars ($120 value)
  • 3 CEUs from Cornell University


Cost holding you back? Here are some funding ideas:
  • Crowdsource your fundraising
    • Consider creating an Indiegogo or Donors Choose project that connects your BirdSleuth Retreat experience to your classroom.  Include your travel expenses in your project budget.
  • Research local funding sources
    • Start with your school: Consult with your principal, district curriculum supervisor, development officer, or PTA advocate.  What professional development initiatives are underway or being planned in your district that could dovetail with BirdSleuth?
    • Think about bird clubs and environmental organizations: Reach out to local business (such as Wild Birds Unlimited stores) and organizations in your community.  Offer to do presentations at bird clubs, Audubon, nature centers, Rotary, or garden clubs in exchange for funding.