• jungle trees

    Conservation Training Partnerships

    Two-day workshop for high school students and adult volunteers that introduces mapping tools and technology that can be used to address current environmental issues. After the workshop each teen-adult team carries out a community environmental action project.

About CTP

The Conservation Training Partnerships (CTP) program partners teens and adult community volunteers, and supports their conservation efforts by providing training during a two-day outdoor field workshop and guidance as they conduct a local conservation project of their choosing.

Teams of teen and adult participants are paired prior to the workshop. During the workshop, each team learns how they can apply innovative, user-friendly mapping and web technology to address local conservation issues through hands-on fieldwork. After the workshop, the team carries out a conservation project that addresses a local environmental issue in their hometown using their new toolset.

The projects are developed by the team at the workshop and CTP instructors provide support to help the team along the way. Teams are invited to showcase their accomplishments in the form of a poster, StoryMap or video at an event in March of the following year.


Program Elements

CTP partners teens and adult community volunteers and supports their conservation efforts by providing training during a two-day outdoor field workshop and guidance as they conduct a local conservation project of their choosing.

collecting data outside

Intergenerational (teen-adult) teams are the "magic" of CTP - each team member contributes their own unique and valuable experiences, skills and interests. Teams are paired prior to the workshop, and can be made up of folks who already know each other, such as student/teacher teams or family teams. We do our best to match applicants who don't have a teammate in advance with a partner in or near their community.

student holding a millipede

Participants learn about the practical approaches to conservation through the use of mapping technologies. Teams collaborate to create interactive maps using GPS mobile apps and geo-referenced web surveys that can be used for data collection, and practice using these mapping and web tools in the field during various field activities. Time is also spent developing and tailoring conservation projects to each team's interests and time availability.

collecting data outside

As a team, teen and adult CTP participants apply their new knowledge and tools to address a local conservation project or environmental action. Team projects vary in topic, duration and intensity. Each spring, participants have the opportunity to showcase their accomplishments at a regional conference. Select teams are interviewed during multiple periods of the project by researchers studying the importance of intergenerational learning.

working in the field
two people looking at a computer map
people listening to a speaker

Program Resources

Workshop Activities, Tutorials & Technology Resource Guides

Collecting Field Data with Epicollect5

Smartphone App for Apple iOS and Android devices. Design custom data collection forms and collect field data with location information and media.

Reference Guide

Video Tutorials

Finding and Mapping Trails with AllTrails

Smartphone App for Apple iOS and Android devices. Create trail maps, trace custom paths, import and export GPS data.

Reference Guide

Video Tutorials

Editing and Adding Tracks in OpenStreetMap

The freely available geospatial data from OSM can be used for creating paper and electronic maps, geocoding of address and place names, and route planning.

Video Tutorials

Google Maps

Exporting Data from Track Kit & Epicollect5 into Google Maps.

Hands-on Activity

Creating a custom Google Map.

Google Maps Tutorial

Seek by iNaturalist

Seek allows curious naturalists of all ages to observe organisms (plants, animals, insects, etc.) with on-screen identification using computer vision based on data from iNaturalist.

User Guide

ArcGIS Online

Interactive maps create immersive experiences that take maps from a static view to an opportunity for users to explore.

Authoring an ArcGIS StoryMap

Combine your maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content to create compelling, user-friendly web apps.

StoryMap Tutorial

Using the Track Kit App to Collect GPS Data in the Field

Smartphone App for Apple iOS. Collect waypoints, tracks and media.

Project Resources

Conservation Projects

View all the past Natural Resources Conservation Academy projects in one place! Use the filter options to browse projects based on keyword/topic, program, project location and type of technology used.

NRCA Projects

Project Templates

Use our templates to brainstorm, plan & design your own custom-tailored Wildlife Monitoring, Trail Mapping, Invasive Plant Species or Water Quality conservation project. Prefer to think outside the box? Use our Choose Your Own Adventure template!

Project Templates

NRCA StoryMap

An ArcGIS StoryMap showcasing community conservation projects from past Natural Resources Conservation Academy participants and the geospatial tools and technology used to enhance project outcomes.

NRCA StoryMap

Final Project Form

Fill out this short form to provide a summary of your CTP project so we know what you accomplished. It will magically autogenerate a poster of your project that you can then customize and edit with photos and other graphics.

Final Project Form

Communication Best Practices for Teamwork


Conservation Projects & COVID-19 Guidelines


Poster Templates


Expanded Poster Template

Expanded Template

Classic Poster Template

Classic Template

StoryMap Poster Template

StoryMap Template



Intro to StoryMaps Webinar

View Webinar

Poster Development Webinar

View Webinar

Data Management Webinar

View Webinar

Additional Resources

Connecticut's Changing Landscape StoryMap

Explore 25 years of land cover and land cover change through an interactive ArcGIS StoryMap.


The EPA's environmental justice mapping and screening tool.

GIS & Conservation Presentation

Learn about the different ways GIS is important to conservation.

Bat Acoustic Monitoring

Watch this instructional video and borrow our recording equipment to become an expert in bat acoustic monitoring!
Tutorial Video

Connecticut Environmental Conditions Online (CT ECO)

Online maps and tools for viewing CT's environmental and natural resources.
Reference Activity
Visit the CTECO Website

Insta360 ONE X

We can loan you an Insta360 ONE X camera to capture awesome 360-degree images for your project!

Camera Traps

Learn how to use a camera trap to record and monitor local wildlife!

CTP At-a-Glance









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Chester Arnold

Extension Educator and CLEAR Director

Department of Extension; Center for Land Use Education and Research


Cary Chadwick

Geospatial Training Program Coordinator

Department of Extension; Center for Land Use Education and Research


Laura Cisneros

Assistant Extension Professor

Department of Natural Resources & the Environment; Institute of the Environment


Dave Dickson

NEMO Co-Director and Mobile Mapping Educator

Department of Extension; Center for Land Use Education and Research


Nicole Freidenfelds

Visiting Assistant Extension Educator

Department of Natural Resources & the Environment


John Volin

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor

Office of the Provost; Department of Natural Resources & the Environment


Emily Wilson

Geospatial Educator

Department of Extension; Center for Land Use Education and Research

Program Funding


NRCA’s Conservation Training Partnerships is funded by a grant (AISL-1612650) from the National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning program. STEM is short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and STEM education is seen by the U.S. Department of Education and many others as critical to maintaining and enhancing America’s global leadership and economic health.

The material on this webpage is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1612650. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.