What is Project Learning Tree?
Learning Tree® (PLT) is widely recognized as one of the premier environmental
education programs in the world. Through
hands-on, interdisciplinary activities, PLT helps young people learn how to
think, not what to think, about complex environmental issues.
Learning Tree is a program of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. In Wisconsin, PLT is part of the LEAF Program in the Wisconsin Center for
Environmental Education, at UW-Stevens Point's College of Natural Resources. Support is also provided by the
Wisconsin DNR – Division of Forestry.
How does PLT Support Your Environmental and Outdoor Education Goals?
As part of the LEAF Program, PLT supplements Wisconsin's forestry education curriculum. Introduced in the early 1970’s to meet
state standards, PLT provides the tools educators need to bring the environment
into their classrooms and their students into the environment. Project Learning
Tree uses the forest and trees as “windows” into the natural and built
environments, helping students gain awareness of the world around them and
their place in it. PLT has unique curriculum for early childhood, K-8, and secondary students.
PLT's new flagship curriculum Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide, which you receive with completion of a workshop, contains 50 hands-on, multidisciplinary activities to connect children to nature and increase young peoples awareness and knowledge about their environment. Activities include detailed step-by-step instructions, academic correlations, time and material requirements, and corresponding student worksheets with green career connections. This guide is designed to develop students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Topics include trees and forests, wildlife, water, air, energy, waste, climate change, invasive species, community planning, and more. The activities encompass the economic, ecological, and social aspects of environmental issues and are designed to help students learn how to think, not what to think.
Other curriculum materials geared toward K-8 teachers include the Treemendous Science, Energy in Ecosystems, and Carbon & Climate e-units, which were developed in conjunction with the Next Generation Science Standards. These unique, self-contained online curriculum units make it easy for teachers to integrate environmental education into their K-8 classroom.
PLT's latest resource for families and teachers of young learners, Trees & Me: Activities for Exploring Nature with Young Children targets children ages 1-6. Trees & Me contains hundreds of ideas for fun, easy-to-do, hands-on experiences to connect young children to nature, with a focus on trees and forests. Through both outdoor and indoor acdtivities, children explore nature through their senses, experience trees thorughout all four seasons, and connect with their community.
Secondary educators looking to bring real-world forest issues into their content areas are encouraged to explore PLT's secondary modules
, including Focus on Forests, Forests of the World, Places We Live, and Southeastern Forests and Climate Change. A new PLT module aimed at secondary students is Green Jobs: Exploring Forest Careers. Educators looking for training in this exciting resource can do so through LEAF's Green Jobs course, found on our professional development calendar.
How Can I Access PLT Materials?
Customized Project Learning Tree professional development workshops can be scheduled at your facility--email Wisconsin PLT coordinator Nicole Filizetti at email@example.com for more information about this service. If you are an individual looking for a workshop you can check the WCEE Professional Development calendar. Most materials mentioned above are available from an online training opportunity, either through a single-topic online training, or integrated into an online LEAF course. These opportunities are also listed on our Professional Development calendar.
What if I have a question that isn't explained here?
We'd love to hear from you! Email Wisconsin PLT coordinator Nicole Filizetti at firstname.lastname@example.org with any other questions about Project Learning Tree.