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 American Forest Foundation. In Wisconsin, PLT is sponsored by the LEAF Program in the Wisconsin Center for
Environmental Education at UW-Stevens Point in partnership with the national PLT program. Support is also provided by the
Wisconsin DNR – Division of Forestry.
How does PLT Support Environmental Education in Wisconsin?
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.
The K-8 activity
guide, which you receive with completion of a workshop, contains 96 hands-on interdisciplinary activities. Topics include forests,
wildlife, water, air, energy, waste, climate change, invasive species,
community planning, and culture. Several
of the many activities pertaining to these topics include: Tree Lifecycle;
Trees in Trouble; Field, Forest and Stream; Energy Sleuths; Reduce, Reuse and
Recycle; and Our Changing World.
PLT's early childhood
education guide developed in 2010, Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood targets children ages 3-6. This guide integrates nature-based
exploration, art, literature, math, music and movement, and outdoor play into
early childhood education programs. Workshop participants also receive a music and movement CD along with the guide upon completion of an early childhood workshop.
Available to secondary educators are five secondary modules found in Project Learning Tree’s Exploring Environmental Issues series that include: Focus on Risk, Focus on Forests, Forests of the World Places we Live, and Southeastern Forests and Climate Change.
How Can I Access PLT Materials?
Workshops can be scheduled at your facility, or if you are an individual looking for a workshop you can check the LEAF's Professional Development calendar. All workshops can be customized for your needs and cost approximately $35.00 per person. Early Childhood workshops run 2-3 hours in length and qualify for Registry credit. Workshops at the K-8 level run 4-6 hours in length. Secondary worskhops are 2-3 hours and can be combined with multiple secondary modules or with a K-8 workshop.
more about Project Learning Tree in Wisconsin, visit our EE in Wisconsin page. You can also read more about the national program at www.plt.org. Or contact Nicole Filizetti, Wisconsin-PLT coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 715-498-7241 with questions on
how to request a professional development workshop in your area.
How Does PLT Support Green School Initiatives?
Project Learning Tree's GreenSchools program inspires students to apply their STEM and investigative skills to create greener and healthier schools--and save schools money. The benefits of becoming a PLT GreenSchool often include significant cost savings, improved student learning and engagement, enhanced student leadership skills, and a healthier school. GreenSchools even includes an early childhood component.
Thanks to a close partnership between PLT's GreenSchools program and Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin, schools and districts that register with Green & Healthy Schools receive reciprocal recognition with PLT's GreenSchools. For this reason, we recommend that schools that are just starting their journey on the green school path go directly through Green & Healthy Schools Wisconsin. For more information visit ghswisconsin.org.