Teachers & Mentors: Free Energy Workshops from NYSERDA

NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) is currently offering free workshops for all New York state educators and mentors called “Get Energy Smart”.  The workshops focus on energy forms and sources, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

While these workshops are free for all New York teachers, professors, pre-certification students, and adults that work with children in volunteer capacities – NYSERDA estimates only 12% of educators in the state have taken part thus far.

One reason this percentage could be so low is a misconception that the workshops are only for science teachers.  This is not the case. Teachers in all subject matters are invited to attend, as are adults who home school and/or interact with children on a volunteer basis – such as 4H Leaders, Scout Leaders, mentors, etc.

Three levels of workshops are offered in the “Get Energy Smart” Program:

The ABCs of Energy – Grades K-3

The 4Es of Energy – Grades 4-6

Energy Trilogy – Grades 7-12 

Attendees receive hands-on instruction, while earning six staff development hours. Each attendee will leave with lesson plans (correlated to the New York State Learning Standards), as well as student worksheets, posters, and classroom materials.

Workshops are held across the state year-round. Sessions are scheduled during the school day, on weekends, and after class. Teachers that attend during the school day are entitled to have their district receive a $125 substitute stipend (per teacher, per day, paid to the school district) 

Funding for these educational workshops comes from a fee all New Yorkers receive on their energy bills called the “Systems Benefit Charge.”

To find workshops in the Finger Lakes Region click here. 

Genesee Community College in Batavia is the closest site to Rochester currently offering workshops this summer. However, check the website often as new sites are frequently added.  

Funding for the workshops comes from a fee all New Yorkers receive on their energy bills called the “Systems Benefit Charge.”


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