The Lawrence Hall of Science

Center for Environmental Learning

The Center for Environmental Learning seeks field-wide systems change towards equity and justice, as we advance environmental learning in education systems. We envision environmental learning spaces where an individual’s relationship with the outdoors can flourish through traditions, experiences, history, and learning, creating opportunities for our communities and our planet to benefit.

Our Work

Craig and Miyuki tidepooling

Working Towards Racial Equity

The Working Towards Racial Equity workshop series, a three-year workshop series co-designed and co-facilitated by The Lawrence Hall of Science, Justice Outside, and Laura Rodriguez, is designed to build capacity to institutionalize equity in outdoor and environmental science education (including organizations dedicated to outdoor learning, environmental justice, environmental science, environmental literacy, youth development, and community development).

Sunstones at The Lawrence

Understanding the Impact of Outdoor Science and Environmental Learning Experiences Through Community-Driven Outcomes

Understanding the Impact of Outdoor Science and Environmental Learning Experiences Through Community-Driven Outcomes seeks to design new research and evaluation tools for outdoor science and environmental learning organizations to understand impact related to environmental and scientific literacy.

A student is using a hand lens to examine nature


BEETLES infuses outdoor science organizations with research-based approaches and tools to improve science teaching and learning. Professional learning resources, designed for use with educators, provide experiences and rationale about outdoor science instruction designed to inspire instructors to improve their teaching. Student activities inspire students’ wonder and curiosity about the natural world, support their innate tendencies for exploration, and guide them to make explanations based on evidence.

Children playing on the DNA sculpture at the Lawrence

Supporting Rightful Presence in Museum Spaces: Youth as Participatory Designers of Indigenous Mixed Reality Science Exhibits

Supporting Rightful Presence in Museum Spaces: Youth as Participatory Designers of Indigenous Mixed Reality Science Exhibits is a collaboration between The Lawrence, UC Berkeley’s School of Information, and ‘ottoy initative to research and develop new museum experiences centered around Ohlone ways of knowing and being. The project will engage Ohlone youth and families in participatory design with the goal of instilling a sense of ownership and belonging for Indigenous visitors to the museum. The project’s deliverables will include multiple exhibits for the Lawrence Hall of Science’s science center.

Two children and a staff member are working together during a science activity.

 ‘ottoy Initiative

The Center for Environmental Learning is a partner of the The Lawrence Hall of Science’s ‘ottoy initiative. The ‘ottoy initiative aims to foster understanding of and respect for Ohlone people and culture and to repair and improve our relationship with the Ohlone community. Vincent Medina and Louis Trevino, co-founders of mak-‘amham/Cafe Ohlone, lead the initiative.

Network for Network Leaders Group Photo

Network for Network Leaders

Justice Outside, The Lawrence Hall of Science, Pisces Foundation, and Informing Change are proud to partner in creating Network for Network Leaders: Justice, Community, & Outdoor Learning to advance a more equitable, just, and influential network model that centers the experiences and knowledge of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, specifically leaders of networks that impact the outdoors, environmental education, and environmental justice.

The Outdoor Nature Lab at The Lawrence

Outdoor Nature Lab

The Robert and Elizabeth Karplus Outdoor Nature Lab is the first new addition to The Lawrence in 20 years! Nestled next to the building and overlooking a stunning view of San Francisco Bay, this nature center is a native landscape attracting birds, pollinators, decomposers, and insects. Signage features Chochenyo, the first language of the East Bay and knowledge from the Ohlone community. Experiences, instructional materials, and outdoor exhibits encourage wonder, curiosity, and connection with the outdoors.

Let’s Work Together

Within the Center for Environmental Learning, we support the field in many ways: by connecting people to each other; designing intentional, high-quality professional learning and instructional materials; and engaging in research and evaluation. We partner with regional hubs, networks, and coalitions to build connections, share expertise, and understand impact. We’re interested in collaborations that build organizational, regional, or field capacity in research and evaluation, teaching and learning, and equity and justice.

Our services include

  • Capacity Building: We provide coaching, strategic visioning, and consulting on organization systems, from curriculum design to professional learning to the structures that inform an organization’s work environment. 
  • Research: We engage in a lot of research, whether it be design-based, community-based, or focused on understanding outcomes or broader impacts of educational programs. We strive to engage in research that can inform practice. 
  • Evaluation: We offer a range of evaluation services from full-scale, complex evaluations to panel reviews, technical reports and briefs, logic modeling, and empirical study design. We work to support powerful environmental learning opportunities that inspire and engage in ways that advance equity.
  • District Support: We support districts seeking a systems-wide approach to integrating environmental and climate literacy into teaching and learning, inside the classroom, on the schoolyard, and in the community.
Two students are in the Outdoor Nature Lab examining plants and insects

About Us

We are a multidisciplinary team that uniquely brings together expertise in program design, professional learning, curriculum development, community engagement, and research and evaluation. 

Alex Sanchez headshot

Alex Sanchez

Research Coordinator

Chris Ziska headshot

Chris Ziska

Outdoor Nature Lab Program Lead

Corinne Calhoun headshot

Corinne Calhoun

Lead Specialist, Environmental Learning

Emilie Lygren headshot

Emilie Lygren

Lead Specialist, Environmental Learning

Jedda Foreman headshot

Jedda Foreman

Director, Center for Environmental Learning

Melissa Collins

Melissa Collins

Senior Research Lead

Mo Henigman headshot

Mo Henigman

Projects Coordinator

Valeria Romero

Valeria Romero

Senior Research Lead


Questions? We’d love to speak to you.