The Institute

The Institute

The Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education was born to provide an educational forum for people to connect with nature.

Through direct learning experiences in the natural world, our goal is to engage individuals in the conservation and stewardship of the natural environment that sustains our communities. Through arts, literature, history and sciences, the Institute inspires people to discover, enjoy, appreciate and protect the wildlife, fields, rivers, lakeshores, forests and wild landscapes of Pennsylvania ecosystems.


We believe that education is the fundamental component, often the missing link, to conserving biological diversity and protecting ecological integrity.

Over time, the most lasting impact will be made because people believe in the need to leave a legacy that includes healthy wildlife populations, functioning ecosystems, vibrant economies based on resource management, and a place to go to enjoy the outdoors.

Founded in 2002, the Pennsylvania Institute for Conservation Education is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization dedicated to advancing awareness, knowledge and skills in natural history and conservation of natural resources by building an ecologically literate and engaged public through education.

The Institute encourages hands-on discovery of ecosystems and watersheds of the Commonwealth while instilling stewardship of our natural resources.

Institute programs involve partnering with an array of leading conservation professionals, field naturalists, ecologists, biologists, authors and educators. Institute classes can cover topics ranging from ecology, geology, and botany to nature writing and sketching to honing your outdoor skills.

Program locations and accommodations vary from nature centers, public and private parks and forestlands as well as camps, lodges, private resorts and Inns throughout the region.

The Institute’s guiding philosophy is that experience teaches best. Interdisciplinary and innovative in its approach, the Institute:

  • Teaches at the convergence of natural and cultural history, science, literature and the arts
  • Affirms human history as integral to the history of landscapes
  • Encourages exploration, reflection and stewardship through immersion in the outdoors
  • Promotes connectivity and respect of people and the broader community of life