Celebrating Leadership: Eric Rutherford

Saginaw Intermediate School District would like to congratulate, Eric Rutherford, Director of Hartley Outdoor Education Center, who was selected to spend four full days learning about place-based and project-based (PBL2) education at the Belle Isle Aquarium and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservancy. This opportunity was provided by the Central Michigan University Center for Excellence in STEM Education and the Belle Isle Conservancy education team and took place the second week of July. 


PBL2 education is a teaching method where students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a semester – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating a public product or presentation for a real audience.
As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. Project-based learning unleashes a contagious, creative energy among students and teachers.
“This conference was an outstanding opportunity to dive deep into place-based learning and project-based learning with educators from throughout Michigan,” said Mr. Rutherford. During the conference, Mr. Rutherford created a custom PBL2 unit that will be utilized at Hartley OEC this year, “It was truly an amazing opportunity to learn and work with some of the best educators the state has to offer. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to partner with several schools in Saginaw County to implement this project at Hartley OEC,” he said. 
About Hartley Outdoor Education Center
Hartley first opened in 1975 under the operation of the Saginaw Intermediate School District. With 300 acres of natural habitat, including hardwood forests, wetlands, meadows, ponds, and a creek, Hartley is home to the Coal Mine No. 8 Historical Site & Museum, Schroeder Log Cabin, Fowler One-room School, Murphy Farmhouse, Henige Log Cabin, Murphy Farm Learning Center, and a future Net Zero Greenhouse. Hartley is also the site of Saginaw County’s only identified Nature Preschool, in partnership with Saginaw ISD’s Head Start programs, located at the Murphy Farm site. In 2020, Hartley launched a robust portfolio of Virtual Field Trips to support schools as they transitioned to remote learning plans. Learn more about Hartley Outdoor Nature Center online or by calling 989-865-6295.