Nancy Trautmann

Director, Education


Curriculum Development • Professional Development for K-12 Educators • Research on Learning Outcomes for Teachers and Students

As Director of Education, I lead a team that aims to inspire curiosity, learning, and action related to birds and the natural world. We are devoted to connecting students and the public with citizen science, conservation, and research related to birds and biodiversity. We create resources and opportunities for people of all ages, in school and out, in person and online, here in Ithaca and throughout the world. Drawing on the Cornell Lab’s exciting array of video, sounds, and citizen-science data, we aim to spark curiosity, build scientific skills, and inspire conservation action.

Although I have always loved birds, my career began with aquatic science. Consulting to community groups that were grappling with groundwater contamination issues, I realized my passion for translating complex science into nontechnical language. This led into collaboration with science teachers, aiming for ways to engage students in real rather than textbook science.  Together we developed effective ways of engaging students in environmental science research and produced books on topics ranging from compost science to toxicology. When the Internet came into play, I became intrigued with how it could be used in education and launched into doctoral studies in the field of computer supported collaborative learning.

At the Cornell Lab I have continued collaborating with educators on curriculum development, for example producing two books: Citizen Science: 15 Lessons that Bring Biology to Life, and Birds Without Borders: Investigating Populations, Habitats, and Conservation of Birds in the U.S. and Abroad.

Each summer, it is my joy to serve on the faculty for the Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest, an organization that engages teachers in intensive professional development in the heart of the Peruvian Amazon.


“The world is moving at a tremendous rate, no one knows where. We must prepare our children not for the world of the past, not for our world, but for their world… the world of the future.”—John Dewey in the 1940s

Recent Publications

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