Getting to Know...Project Learning Tree

Using trees and forests as “windows to the world,” Project Learning Tree (PLT), hosted by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, has since its founding in 1976 reached 138 million students, increasing their understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it.


Like environmental education at its core, Project Learning Tree helps students learn how to think, not what to think, about complex environmental issues, forever aiming towards its vision of “a future where the next generation values the natural world and has the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions and take responsible actions to sustain forests and the broader environment.”


Made up of three equally important components—high-quality instructional materials for grades PreK-12; carefully designed professional development; and an extensive distribution and support network—PLT was designed to gain the confidence of the education community. “Educators would have to like it, trust it, and use it.” At the same time, its creators wanted to ensure that the curriculum was “balanced, fair, and accurate” and that it “encouraged students to consider all sides and factors when making decisions about the environment.”


PLT has long been recognized as one of the premier environmental education programs in the world, and this September, PLT’s “Carbon & Climate” curriculum for grades six through eight was named a Learning® magazine 2020 Teachers’ Choice Award for the Classroom winner. (PLT’s “Energy in Ecosystems” for grades three through five and “Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood” have also received Teachers’ Choice Awards for the Classroom.)


Teachers, parents, and EE practitioners of all stripes are invited to review PLT’s many free online resources, from STEM strategies to sample lesson plans to family activities. Activities are “practical, hands-on, and fun, and aligned with state and national academic standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards, College, Career, and Civic Life Framework, Head Start, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children,” the PLT website explains.


KAEE has served as the state sponsor and coordinator of Kentucky PLT since 2012. Want to learn how you can become certified to use PLT curriculum or how we can help you host a PLT workshop in your area? Visit our PLT webpage here!


PLT at a Glance

Mission

Project Learning Tree advances environmental literacy and promotes stewardship through excellence in environmental education, professional development, and curriculum resources that use trees and forests as windows on the world.


Vision

Project Learning Tree is committed to creating a future where the next generation values the natural world and has the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions and take responsible actions to sustain forests and the broader environment.


​Goals

Provide students with the awareness, appreciation, skills, and commitment to address environmental issues


Enable students to apply scientific processes and higher order thinking skills to resolve environmental problems


Help students acquire an appreciation for and tolerance of diverse viewpoints on environmental issues and develop attitudes and actions based on analysis and evaluation of the available information


Encourage creativity, originality, and flexibility to resolve environmental problems and issues


​​Inspire and empower students to become responsible, productive, and participatory members of society