Washington D.C. and Ottawa, ON – Project Learning Tree’s (PLT) Energy in Ecosystems curriculum for grades 3-5 has been selected a Learning® Magazine 2019 Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award (TCA) for the Classroom winner. Winners, including products from Scholastic and National Geographic, were selected by a nationwide panel of teacher-judges who review books, classroom supplies, educational games, software, websites, and supplemental materials that teachers need for their classroom. PLT is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. 

“The Energy in Ecosystems by Project Learning Tree is a fantastic online resource for students in grades 3-5,” said one teacher who evaluated the curriculum. “There are many things I love about it, but I would rank the following as my favorite parts: it’s all online, it is super engaging, targets the NGSS standards which are how my school’s science standards are aligned, and it also integrates the Common Core standards for English and Math.” 

PLT’s Energy in Ecosystems e-unit consists of six activities for elementary students to investigate the ways in which organisms depend on each other to survive and thrive. Students focus on forests—one of the largest and most complex types of ecosystems—and come to understand ways that plants and animals are connected to each other. 

For example, in Activity 1: The Forest of S.T. Shrew, students take a “shrew’s-eye-view” of life in the woods to gain an understanding of the variety of organisms that live in forests. In Activity 2: A Home for Many, students inventory the plants and animals that live in, on, and around trees and discover how trees meet their needs for survival. In Activity 3: Web of Life, students conduct research and simulate a food web. In Activity 6: Invasive Species, students learn about invasive species and what characteristics make them so challenging. 

Teachers can purchase PLT’s Energy in Ecosystems e-unit and an accompanying online course for $40 from shop.plt.org. For a limited time, a special 25% discount is available over the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Starting Friday, November 23 through Monday, November 26 (ending at 11:59pm ET), educators can use the code EUNIT2018 at checkout to receive $10 off any of PLT’s e-units for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. 

Educators can also receive the e-unit by participating in an in-person professional development workshop in their state. Approximately 1,200 workshops are held around the country every year that provide in-depth, tailored training to approximately 20,000 educators on how best to incorporate environmental education into their curriculum in their own setting and how to take their students outside to learn. 

“Project Learning Tree provides high-quality standards-based education materials and professional development for educators, and it’s a true pleasure to be recognized as a top curriculum in the classroom,” said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI. “We believe there is such richness and depth to learning when you use trees and forests as windows onto the world for teaching youth all kinds of subjects, from STEM to English language arts to social studies and much more.” 

PLT’s hands-on and engaging activities help teach students how to think, not what to think about the environment and their place within it. The multi-disciplinary lessons are flexible, easy for teachers to 

incorporate into their existing curriculum and are designed to develop students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. 

For 25 years, the Learning® magazine Teachers’ Choice Awards have heralded the very best in classroom-tested, teacher-recommended products. Each product is evaluated on its own merit and those that meet Learning Magazine’s teachers’ stringent standards are chosen to receive a Teachers’ Choice Award. For the 2019 TCA Classroom awards, 27 winners were chosen based on their scores from the evaluations done by a panel of teachers across the country. 

This is the second time PLT has won a Teachers’ Choice Award. PLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood guide and CD was awarded a 2011 Teachers’ ChoiceSM Award for the Classroom. 


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The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. We are an independent, nonprofit organization that leverages four interconnected pillars of work: standards, conservation, community, and education. SFI works with the forest sector, conservation groups, academics, researchers, brand owners, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous Peoples, and governments. Collaborating with our network, we leverage SFI-certified forests and products as powerful tools to help solve sustainability challenges such as climate action, conservation of biodiversity, education of future generations, and sustainable economic development.

Christine Leduc
VP, Communications and Government Relations
Sustainable Forestry Initiative

Project Learning Tree helps develop students’ awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment, builds their skills and ability to make informed decisions, and encourages them to take personal responsibility for sustaining the environment and our quality of life that depends on it. Since 1976, Project Learning Tree has trained 750,000 educators to help students learn how to think, not what to think about complex environmental issues. PLT is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Learn more at plt.org.