Harltey Pinnacle Media Release

Saginaw, MI - Saginaw Intermediate School District (ISD) is thrilled to announce that its program, Hartley Outdoor Education Center (OEC), has been recognized with the distinguished Pinnacle Award by the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC) for the 2022-2023 academic year. Hartley OEC received this award in five previous years, including 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2021.

The CILC, globally renowned for championing distance learning, grants this annual accolade to Content Providers who demonstrate an unparalleled commitment to offering virtual field trip experiences with notable educational value and engaging qualities. The Pinnacle Award serves as a beacon of excellence in virtual education, spotlighting institutions that stand out for their academic standards and ability to inspire learners from diverse backgrounds and locations.

"Our Hartley Naturalists have consistently demonstrated their unwavering pursuit to provide innovative, interactive, and meaningful virtual education learning opportunities," said Dr. Jeffrey Collier, Superintendent of Saginaw ISD. "This recognition affirms our commitment to reducing barriers to access, bridging geographical divides, and providing increased equitable educational experiences directly to students."

Tami Moehring, Director of Member Relations at CILC, described the announcement of the coveted Pinnacle Award as "a time when the connections between Content Providers and Members are highlighted at their finest. Members get to see their feedback turned into recognition for the hard work, dedication, and unique talent for delivering amazing virtual field trips that inspire learning in groups of students from around the world."

As traditional learning adapts to technological advancements, Hartley OEC has introduced many virtual courses. Among these, "French Voyager" is one of our most popular immersive field trips that provides students with an experience to step into the shoes of French voyageur Jean-Paul LeFranc. They accompany him on a journey from Montreal to the Grand Portage in Minnesota and back. Throughout the experience, students actively engage, learning about the roles within the canoe, the voyagers' unique attire, their dietary choices, and the overarching mission of the French voyageurs. Thanks to such innovative courses, Hartley OEC is now recognized alongside prestigious institutions like the Denali Education Center, Buffalo Zoo, National Archives, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Zion National Park.

"Hartley OEC is humbled and honored to once again receive this prestigious recognition from CILC," said Eric Rutherford, Program Director. Our goal has always been to make our unique classes accessible to as many learners as possible, regardless of their physical location. This acknowledgment fuels our passion and propels us to continually innovate and enhance our virtual learning experiences."

To learn more about Hartley OEC's virtual offerings or our other programs, please click here.
If you would like more information on the CILC Pinnacle Award, you may view their full press release here.


Established by the Saginaw Intermediate School District in 1975, Hartley Outdoor Education Center provides students with experiential learning opportunities and unforgettable moments while exploring nature, wildlife, natural resources, history, and cultures through virtual or in-person interactive learning. Hartley offers a variety of STEM classes in categories such as earth science, life science, and physical science. 

Nestled in 311 acres of natural habitat, including hardwood forests, wetlands, meadows, ponds, and a creek, Hartley is home to Coal Mine No. 8, a historical site and museum, Schroeder Log Cabin, Fowler School, Murphy Farm, Henige Log Cabin, and a future Net Zero Greenhouse.


Saginaw Intermediate School District (ISD) is an educational service agency that provides effective and innovative leadership, services, resources, and programs throughout Saginaw County. Saginaw ISD provides career and technical education, early childhood, finance, human resources, instruction, pupil accounting, special education, technology, and transportation services. In addition, Saginaw ISD operates multiple educational programs to meet the unique needs of students ages birth to 26 across Saginaw County, including: Hartley Outdoor Education Center, Head Start/Early Head Start and Great Start to Readiness Programs, Great Lakes Bay Early College, Saginaw County Juvenile Detention Center School, and Special Education Center Programs.

Saginaw ISD serves 12 local school districts, five public school academies, and 22 non-public schools, with a total enrollment of approximately 26,000 students. Public school districts supported include: Birch Run Area Schools, Bridgeport-Spaulding Community School District, Carrollton Public Schools, Chesaning Union Schools, Frankenmuth School District, Freeland Community School District, Hemlock Public School District, Merrill Community Schools, Saginaw Public School District, Saginaw Township Community Schools, St. Charles Community Schools, and Swan Valley School District.


For further inquiries, you may contact Chief of Staff Coty Kuschinsky at ckuschinsky@sisd.cc