Dow Sustainability Teacher Fellowship

The Dow Sustainability Teacher Fellowship at the University of Michigan is now accepting applications from K-12 educators of all disciplines interested in teaching sustainability issues.

The program supports teachers across content areas in engaging students in a place-based, sustainability focused learning unit. Educators from Arenac, Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, Saginaw counties and surrounding districts can apply.

“We’re providing students with experiences that will spark passion about the outdoors, sustainability, environment, and community,” said Nate Phipps, managing director of the Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research at U-M Marsal Family School of Education.

This opportunity includes high-quality professional development, which will kick off with an in-person onboarding session June 12. Next, fellows will engage in a three-week virtual learning module introducing sustainability topics and place-based teaching methods.

Additionally, in-person workshops and networking events will take place Aug. 6-7. All fellowship participants receive a $2,000 stipend and a $1,000 mini-grant to support their sustainability unit implementation in the classroom.

“Place-based education can provide real-world context to sustainability issues that students either hear about in their daily lives or are experiencing directly,” said DSTF program coordinator Emily Gochis “We aim to equip teachers with tools to address these topics in their classroom and empower their students to make a difference in their community.”

The program is entering its sixth year. New and returning fellow pathways have been made available to regional educators this year. Fellows who have been part of the program thus far have designed and implemented a variety of robust, interdisciplinary units focusing on local sustainability issues.

Amy Klopf, a program alum, is now dean of students at Coleman Elementary School in Midland County. She began teaching in 2001 and was a fellow in 2020-2023.

“This program opens your eyes,” Klopf said. “Just the idea of sustainability and what our kids can do to better their environment and their living and realize that it’s for future generations. It’s not just for now.”

Fellow Kari Keith is a middle school teacher in the Saginaw Township Community School District.

“This was such a great experience,” she said. “The program fully supported the teachers. We often receive some form of professional development and then are expected to go off and implement what we have learned. Throughout this fellowship, teachers had someone available to answer questions, provide resources, and put us in touch with others doing similar projects.”

The fellowship is a partnership between the Dow Company Foundation, the University of Michigan Marsal Family School of Education’s Center for Education Design, Evaluation and Research, Delta College, and local sustainability, conservation and community organizations.

Individuals and teams from within the same school are welcome to apply. Applications are due April 7, 2024. To learn more about this opportunity and apply, visit

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