Confluence supports the work of educators of all kinds, in settings of all kinds, with a particular focus on place-based service learning (PBSL) on public lands, from urban pocket parks to vast wilderness landscapes. Delia believes strongly that our motivation to act for the health of our communities and natural environment comes directly from a strong sense of place. This sense of place is nourished in childhood and throughout life by direct, personal experiences with landscape and community—a belief she manifests in every workshop.

Working with diverse partners and clients, Delia offers workshops and professional-development support to educators across the United States and internationally. With the goal of“feeding four birds with one seed”, Delia focuses on fostering the growth of deep, vibrant partnerships among schools, communities, and public lands, which in turn work to improve (1) environmental quality, (2) economic vitality, (3) social equity, and (4) student achievement. Delia’s work in PBSL is grounded in local resources, issues, and values, resulting in an approach that’s inherently relevant to people from a broad spectrum of ages and perspectives.

Key Approaches

Delia’s work with PBSL centers around several key approaches:

Teacher Professional Development – Delia works with National Park Service (NPS), US Forest Service (USFS), and nonprofit partners to create professional development programs that convene cohorts of teachers multiple times across a year. These workshops explore how to build PBSL units that are real, empowering, collaborative, integrated, rigorous, and grounded in place. See Sample Projects below for more information on this groundbreaking work.

Questing – Questing is local, clue-to-clue exploration of natural and cultural history treasures and landscapes, using maps and verses developed by students or adult volunteers as a gift and service to their community. Delia offers workshops ranging from an hour to a week in this quintessential place-based education experience—a fun, hands-on way to cover key curricular concepts and link schools with community organizations, while increasing knowledge of and appreciation for a community and its place within the region. See Questing on the Publications page.

Educational and Interpretive Planning – Delia brings her deep experience with place-based education to a wide range of educational and interpretive planning initiatives, engaging staff and community members in a thoughtful exploration of goals, themes, resources, current successes and challenges, and action plans. Her values-driven approach contributes to clear communication and broad adoption of agreed-upon directions.


Confluence offers professional-development workshops and support, facilitation, and program development in:

  •     Principles and Promising Practices of Place-based Education 
  •     Principles and Promising Practices of Civic Engagement
  •     Questing – Creating Community Treasure Hunts 
  •     Education and Interpretation Planning
  •     Youth Engagement Skills 
  •     Heritage Interpretation
  •     Sustainable Tourism 

Sample Projects

So wonderful! Perfectly met my needs - nourishing, spoke directly to our hearts and spirits. I felt like a kid again! It was a plunge into the world of exploration. I learned that I can always learn more simply by being in the woods.
— Participant in Workshop: Discovering the Wonder of Place

Delia currently serves as faculty for the following ongoing initiatives:

A Trail to Every Classroom
A five-day summer workshop offered by the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Appalachian Trail Conservancy to teachers, NPS, USFS, and partners, focused on using the Appalachian Trail as an integrating context for curriculum development in PBSL, as part of a year-long training course.
     Shepherdstown WV – 2006 to present

Iditarod Trail to Every Classroom
An eleven-day course spread out over summer, fall, and spring workshops, offered annually by the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, USFS, and Bureau of Land Management, in partnership with the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, to teachers focused on PBSL.
     Girdwood, Seward, and Nome AK – 2009 to present

A Park for Every Classroom
Regular workshops and online gatherings offered by the NPS Northeast Region and Shelburne Farms. Delia works with the team to offer workshops to participating parks from throughout the region, including park staff, partners, and teachers, focused on preparing for teacher professional development in PBSL.
     Wilton CT, Baltimore MD, Staten Island NY, Valley Forge PA, and
     Salem MA – 2009 to present.

Workshops offered in Questing to NPS and non-formal educators.
Waldoboro ME (through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Quebec-Labrador Foundation [QLF]) – 2009, 2010, 2011
     San Francisco CA (with Golden Gate National Recreation Area) – 2006
     Wolow, Poland (with QLF/Atlantic Center for the Environment) – 2007
     Talkeetna AK (with Denali National Park and Preserve, Talkeetna Historical Society, and Northern Susitna Institute) – 2015

Delia has also served as lead faculty, facilitator, or speaker for the following initiatives, related to place-based education, youth engagement, and heritage interpretation: 

Thank you so much for a very wonderful three days. I am full of admiration for you and your ability to fuel synergy.... isn’t it true that we were ALL in a moving forward mode the WHOLE time and there never was any was always the right pace. You have a gift.
— Place-based Education Curriculum Coach

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park Stewardship Framework
Worked with the Core Team of park staff and partners to design and facilitate a planning process known as the Stewardship Framework for Whole-Park Engagement, focused on interpretation and education programs throughout the park and partners, including facilitating a Steering Committee and community Learning Circles.
     Woodstock VT – 2012-2014

Sustainable Tourism
Invited speaker for a week-long guest-speaking consultancy with the US State Department, offering lectures and meetings with local leaders at the invitation of the US Embassy, including a focus on place-based education and the Appalachian Trail.
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – 2013

Vermont Farm-to-School Network
Facilitated regular day-long meetings in the form of a CLIP (Community of Learning, Inquiry, and Practice), as well as a series of meetings focused on strategic planning for collective impact.
     Throughout Vermont – 2009-2013

Appalachian Trail Youth Summit
Led a week-long gathering of Groundwork USA youth teams from Yonkers NY and Lawrence MA, and adult trail volunteers from Appalachian Trail Conservancy clubs from the length of the trail, focused on supporting and growing youth engagement with public lands.
     Bretton Woods NH – 2010

Principles and Promising Practices of Place-based Education
Lead trainer for a three-day workshop offered to NPS staff, partners, and community teachers by Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, NPS Conservation Study Institute, USFS, National Wildlife Federation, and Shelburne Farms. 
     Nacogdoches TX (with USFS) – 2007
     Bristol PA (with Earth Force) – 2007
     Shelburne VT – 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
     Woodstock VT – 2004
     North Woodstock NH (with USFS) – 2006, 2007
     Amherst MA (partnership with Hitchcock Ctr) – 2004

Youth Engagement Skills Workshop
Lead instructor and facilitator for a day-long workshop offered to NPS staff and partners by the NPS Northeast Region.
     Baltimore MD – 2009

National Interpretation and Education Leadership Council
Facilitated a day-long meeting of this group of NPS regional chiefs of interpretation and education, to identify and begin implementation planning for 2009 priorities.
     Portland OR – 2008

Thank you for the extraordinary job you did in our second session. I don’t know just how to describe your method – but I can report the first follow-up results: we’re absolutely off and running! Your approach and skills made it all possible!
— Non-profit Organization Board Chair

Denali National Park and Preserve Education Plan
Facilitated a series of staff and community planning meetings and used the results of these meetings, as well as observations of existing program offerings, to write a draft of the Denali Education Plan.  
     Healy AK – 2007

NPS National Education Council Action Planning MeetingsFacilitated three meetings over the course of a year, running one to three days each, for NPS educational leaders from around the country to create a service-wide education plan.
     Denver CO, Harpers Ferry WV, Washington DC – 2005

New Strategies for Education Partnerships; Strengthening Ties between Protected Areas, Communities and Their Schools
Led a three-day workshop offered to interpreters and educators from national parks throughout the United States and Italy, by Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, the NPS Conservation Study Institute, and Shelburne Farms.
     South Hero VT – 2002