2023 Summer Educator Retreat

This summer’s annual Educator Retreat will be held in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains, July 23-27.

We are excited to invite you to the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains for a revitalizing four-day learning experience!

This one-of-a-kind residential program includes hands-on activities and outdoor exploration, and will be a time for rejuvenation and re-connection for educators. We will highlight best practices in inquiry, citizen science, and nature-based education.

During this transformative, residential experience, you will:

  • Enjoy the natural beauty of the over 750 acres of Adirondack wilderness with like-minded educators.
  • Stay in cabins and enjoy family-style meals with fellow educators.
  • Have time for recreational activities including waterfront and boating activities, nature trails, basketball, and volleyball.
  • Receive hands-on training in using inquiry and citizen science in your program.
  • Participate in science inquiry, learn eBird protocols, and practice citizen-science along the crystal clear Pyramid Lake and an iconic mountain.
  • Discover the Cornell Lab’s online field guide, digital library, and citizen-science programs as educational resources for K-12 learning.
  • Explore culturally responsive teaching in science.
  • Enjoy bird walks to help you practice bird identification and learn about bird ecology.
  • Receive your choice of one of the following: K-2, 3-5 , 6-8 or 9-12 eBird Explorer curriculum free with your registration. Additional kits will be available for pre-order.
  • Earn 3 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) from Cornell University.
  • Practice methods that can be immediately implemented with your students.

Who should attend?

This experience is especially designed for K-12 classroom educators, STEM coordinators, and school librarians looking for innovative ways to teach science inquiry, STEM content, and develop science literacy. This retreat will help you incorporate citizen science and nature exploration into classrooms. The curricula we will be training on are classroom focused or best for non-formal educators who have multiple sessions with the same students. We welcome non-formal educators, and previous attendees have found activities and ideas useful in their settings.

Participants in past retreats 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

Plan to arrive between 12:00-1:30 pm on Sunday, July 23. The Retreat begins promptly at 2:00 pm and concludes Thursday, July 27 at 2:00 pm.

The Pyramid Life Center is located at 1 Pyramid Rd in Paradox, NY and is located within Adirondack Park. Free parking is available on site. The closest airport is Albany International Airport and it is about a 1 hour and 40 min drive to the Center.

Lodging and Meals

Lodging is provided by our host Pyramid Life Center (PLC) and is included in the registration fee. The Center is located within the Adirondack Park. Its remoteness is part of the charm, but it also makes getting there more complex.

This is a safe and fun, no-frills kind of place. The facilities consist of rustic cabins that feature picturesque views of the private lake, the cool mountain breeze, and the quiet of the forest. All guests can expect their own bedroom, electricity, and access to a shared bathroom facility. Bedding and towels are not included, so please bring your own. The weather can be cold at night, no matter the time of year, and we recommend you bring layers, extra blankets, and warm socks. Cell coverage is spotty throughout the facility. Access to a landline is provided, as well as very limited access to wireless internet. We hope you view this as an opportunity to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in nature. You can read more about PLC and what is has to offer here.

As much as possible, meals will account for dietary restrictions and alternate meal options will be provided to support the health and well being of all participants.


The Cornell Lab K-12 team is dedicated to providing a harassment-free and discrimination-free experience at this Retreat. We aim for professional development and educational exchange in the spirit of free discussion and expression in an environment in which diverse attendees may learn, network, and enjoy the company of colleagues. We are committed to providing an open and welcoming environment for all participants, including but not limited to race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, ability, socioeconomic status, age, religion, and veteran or military service status.

  • There is limited-to-no cell service, so please plan accordingly.
  • This is an active retreat and we plan to spend a lot of time outside. We will encounter mud, hills, and uneven terrain. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to discuss with us.

Cost and Registration

Workshop costs are being supplemented by grant and sponsor funds. The registration fee is $700which includes:

  • Delicious meals and plenty of snacks during workshop hours. Meals include Sunday dinner, Monday through Wednesday all three meals, and Thursday breakfast and lunch.
  • Lodging at Pyramid Life Center for 4 nights.
  • Your choice of either the K-2, 3-5 , 6-8 or 9-12 eBird Explorer kits. Additional kits are available for pre-order.
  • Participants can request a completion letter with contact hours, CTLEs (NY teachers), or 3 CEUs from Cornell University, depending if you need to verify continuing education hours.
  • Registration Deadline: June 15, 2023, or until retreat is filled.

Refund policy: If you need to cancel your registration, please email us at k12lab@cornell.edu.

  • If you cancel on or before June 15, 2023: $500 refund
  • If you cancel between June 16-July 1, 2023: $350 refund
  • After July 1, 2023: $100 refund and we will ship your kit to you.


Scholarships applications are now closed.

Scholarships were available thanks to donors. Deadline to apply for the scholarship was 11:59 pm ET on March 26, 2023.

Expectations and Policies

To make the most of our time together, participants will be asked to complete the free eBird Essentials course before the retreat. The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and will give participants the fundamentals of eBird participation. We will expand on how to use eBird with students during the retreat.

COVID-19 Policies

We are guided by Cornell University’s COVID policy. At this time, masks are welcome but not required.