Iowa Outdoor Learning Environments Conference

June 18 – 19, 2018 – Ames, Iowa

Gateway Hotel and Conference Center


Click here for a detailed agenda of sessions.

Agenda – Monday

7:00 AM – Exhibitors set up

8:00 AM – Registration & Breakfast, Visit Exhibitors

8:45 AM – Conference Welcome / Outdoor Learning Environment Program Update

9:00 AM – Special Guest and Student Presentations: Benefits & Importance of Outdoor Education and STEM

10:00 AM – Session 1 *(3 options – 1 from each track) – see below

10:50 AM – Break – Visit Exhibitors

11:00 AM – Session 2 *(3 options – 1 from each track) – see below

11:50 AM – Round Table Topic Discussions

12:15 – 1:15 PM – Lunch with Keynote Speaker

1:15 PM – Break – Visit Exhibitors

1:30 PM – Session 3 *(3 options – 1 from each track) – see below

2:20 PM – Break – Visit Exhibitors

2:30 PM – Session 4 *(3 options – 1 from each track) – see below

3:20 PM – Break with Snack, Visit Exhibitors

3:30 – 4:30 PM – OLE Panel of Experts with Q&A and Conference Wrap Up

Agenda – Tuesday

8:00 AM – Field trip to local Story County Outdoor Learning Environments

12:00 PM – Lunch and Travel to Story County Park

1:00 PM – Plant ID Session with Story County CCB

2:15 PM – Taking STEM Outside Session

3:30 PM – Debrief and completion of post-conference assessment (for license renewal credit registrants only)

Click here to download the agenda as a PDF.

License renewal credit registrants are also required to attend a 30 min Zoom meeting on June 15th at 10 AM to go over course requirements. Contact Alicia Vasto at with questions.

*Conference Tracks:

A. Gaining Community Support
Learn how to gain support for and secure the longevity of your OLE. This track will include sessions on how to gain vital buy-in as well as tactics for seeking funding for your OLE.

B. Creating Educational Programs for OLEs
This track focuses on building curriculum and educational programs for your OLE. Some subjects that included are connecting students to their outdoor surroundings, intentional and organic play in nature, and incorporating STEM and NGSS into your OLE.

C. OLE Design, Implementation, and Maintenance
This track emphasizes ways to design a natural and intentional OLE. Sessions will target architectural design of the space as well as planting design and establishing and maintaining native plant communities.