First Rings First Fellowship

Stipends, Professional Development, and Resources for Watershed Education

Funding provided by NOAA (B-WET) grant

We are looking for faculty and staff to support fellows! Cohort #3 can include but will not be limited to:

  • Career Leaders
  • Intervention Teachers
  • Teachers of STEM, Social Science, Language Arts, Art, Graphic Arts, Horticulture
  • Adminstrators
  • Club Advisors
  • Board Members
  • Anyone who wants to support the current fellows as they get students outdoors for student led, placed based and service learning that makes a difference in your school or community!

The First Rings First Fellowship (FRFF) Program provides first-ring science teachers in Cuyahoga County with FREE resources and professional development training to create meaningful, place-based watershed projects with their students. Through workshops, tours, peer-to-peer networking, and funding support for project equipment, fellowship participants will obtain knowledge and tools to introduce their students to Great Lakes literacy and watershed restoration concepts. These exciting benefits will help teachers develop meaningful watershed education experiences to implement in their classrooms. The FRFF Program meets multidisciplinary high school and middle school Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) experiential learning curricula needs, while aligning with the goals of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and Cuyahoga River Area of Concern (AOC) management plans.

Participation in the 2023 program includes*:

  • Training and curriculum guides from Project WET, Healthy Water-Healthy People, Wonders of Wetlands, Project Learning Tree: Green schools, Green Jobs, Places We Live and Focus on Risk, Project Wild: Aquatic and Science & Civics
  • Ongoing free access to a special Cuyahoga SWCD Water Reporter school account (training and support included)
  • Immersive PD opportunities (Old Woman Creek, Great Lake Erie Educators Exchange, Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center)
  • Tours of the Watershed Stewardship Center, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Botanical Gardens and school outdoor learning sites
  • Workshops at Brecksville Reservation, University of Akron Field Station, Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve
  • Technical support for student meaningful watershed education experiences (MWEE)
  • Free student symposium/career expo to highlight student projects—presentation awards for school and students


Interested in participating in the First Rings First Fellowship Program? We are still seeking teachers from CMSD, East Cleveland, South Euclid/Lyndhurst, and Garfield Heights to participate in our final cohort of fellows. We still have a few fellowship spots open for middle school science teachers on a first come, first serve basis. Any teacher or administrator in a first ring school can participate as a partner to the fellow from their district.

If you are a Cuyahoga first ring teacher or staff interested in learning more or participating, please contact Jacki Zevenbergen at jzevenbergen@cuyahogaswcd.org or 216.503.1338. Space is limited- sign up today!

If you are interested and teach at a non-first ring school, please still contact us to discuss participation opportunities.

Funding support for the FRFF Program is provided through the NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) grant.


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