Programs & Activities

Programs & Activities

Philadelphia Children Access Nature is a sustainable model for bringing developmentally appropriate STEM education to 3rd-5th grade classrooms in Philadelphia.

PCAN works directly with teachers to improve their science teaching skills and strengthen the content knowledge in science and the environment.

Vision: Elementary students living in urban communities enter middle school with a strong foundation in environmental education and are prepared to participate in STEM at the secondary level.

Mission: Build capacity and measurably improve environmental literacy in elementary school students and teachers by providing daily access to nature, teacher professional training and tools to deliver inquiry-based lessons and direct service to students living in urban, under-resourced communities.

Philadelphia Children Access Nature is expanding!

Riverbend is excited to announce that Philadelphia Children Access Nature is expanding, thanks to a generous gift from Nick and Dee Adams. In the 2017-2018 school year, teachers and students will have access to more amazing resources to transform their science practice, including the award-winning Building STEM skills through Aquaponics System for their classroom.

How can I get involved?

Summer Science Inquiry Institute

Summer Science Inquiry Flyer

Offered in partnership with the Franklin Institute, the Summer Science Inquiry Institute provides a full week of summer professional development for teachers. Teachers will visit 5 different locations across the city that provide resources for science education. They will learn principals of inquiry based and project based learning as well as how to connect students to real world, relevant science topics.

When: July 31st-August 4th, 2017 9:30am-3pm.

Where: The week will begin at the Franklin Institute on July 31st and end at Riverbend Environmental Education Center on August 4th. We will visit different locations throughout the week and teachers are responsible for their own transportation each day.

What to bring: We will spend a lot of time outdoors. Bring a bagged lunch, water bottle and something to write with. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.

Cost: This program is free to Philadelphia School District teachers. A $100 deposit is required to hold your space and will be returned upon completion of the institute.

Note: The Summer Science Institute is a pre-requisite to the Teacher Fellowship

ACT 48 Credit is available.

Space is limited! Click on the link below to register today:

Register Today!

Checks may be mailed to:
Attention Director of Education
Riverbend Environmental Education Center
1950 Spring Mill Road
Gladwyne, PA 19035

Pay by phone:
610-527-5234 x112 (Erin McCool)

Teacher Fellowship

Teachers who have completed the Summer Science Inquiry Insitute are eligible to apply for the teacher fellowship.

When: October 2017 - June 2018

Continued professional development: 4 half-day professional development sessions throughout the school year.

Aquaponics: Classroom Aquaponics system for your classroom, including installation and maintenance for one year. This program contains everything you need to run a STEM based Aquaponics program in your classroom!

Curriculum: Innovative, custom designed and standards-aligned curriculum activities to help you facilitate inquiry based lessons and aquaponics activities in your classroom.

Field trip for your students: A STEM based field trip (including busses) to Riverbend or another location of your choice in Philadelphia for 50 students.

Community of Practice: Join a community of practice of professional science educators and participate in ongoing networking, mentoring and resource sharing to build your STEM based classroom.

Note: The Summer Science Inquiry Institute is a pre-requisite to the Teacher Fellowship


  • Support science teaching aligned with the district’s Science CORE Modules.
  • Provide teachers with mentoring and hands-on training for using best practices for inquiry based science teaching.
  • Connect teachers with additional science resources in the Philadelphia area.

Professional Development Flyer

The P-CAN program has two important parts, a professional development open to all Philadelphia teachers and a P-CAN Fellows program for teachers that are dedicated to improving their science teaching.

In partnership with The Franklin Institute, Riverbend provides one week of professional development for K-5th teachers. Immersed in science education, teachers improve their science teaching skills and learn about the many science resources that Philadelphia has to offer. They learn about the world around them and how to make it relevant to their students.  Teachers that participate in the week-long institute can submit an application to become a P-CAN Fellow.

P-CAN Fellows work closely with Riverbend staff to improve science in their classrooms.  As a P-CAN Fellow, teachers receive many benefits, including:

  • Riverbend will conduct six in-class lessons in each Fellows classroom. Fellows actively participate as Riverbend models inquiry based teaching.
  • One field trip to a local science center for the Fellow’s class
  • Continued support and mentoring
  • P-CAN Science Enrichment Curriculum, with two out of the three Science CORE Modules for each grade K-5, includes 12 lessons per module
  • Support for additional professional development opportunities





Latest News


Teen Summer Volunteer Days

Riverbend welcomes students aged 13 on summer Wednesdays for a day of volunteering. Work on the 30-acre property completing a variety of projects. Visit our volunteer page for more information.  Dates June: 21st, 28thJuly: 5th, 12th, 19th, 26thAugust: 2nd,9th, 16th ...

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