Project 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.
Project 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.
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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.
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 six 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.
Workshops can be scheduled at your facility, or if you are an individual looking for a workshop you can check out our Professional Development options. 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 3-6 hours in length. Secondary workshops are 2-3 hours and can be combined with multiple secondary modules or with a K-8 workshop. Most curriculum units are also available through online workshops. Look at the PLT section of our On-Demand Professional Development page for more information.
To learn 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 email@example.com with questions on how to request a professional development workshop in your area.
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. PLT’s Green Schools Investigations guide students through the process of analyzing their school’s energy, water, school site, waste and recycling, and environmental quality. GreenSchools even includes an early childhood component. To learn more about accessing the Green Schools Investigations and associated training, contact the Wisconsin PLT coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.