FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2021
Washington, D.C., April 6, 2021 — Project Learning Tree® (PLT) released a new curriculum guide today to engage kindergarten through grade 8 students in exploring their environment. Project Learning Tree is a long-established, award-winning environmental education program that uses trees and forests as windows on the world to advance environmental literacy, stewardship, and pathways to green careers. The guide includes fifty field-tested, hands-on activities that integrate investigations of nature with science, math, English language arts, and social studies. It incorporates outdoor education and connects youth to nature which has many proven benefits.
Educators can obtain a copy of PLT’s Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide directly from PLT’s Shop or by attending a local PLT professional development workshop conducted by PLT’s 50-state network of 75 coordinators and 1,000 facilitators across the country. This new, cutting-edge resource for educators offers robust, real-world learning experiences for students designed to bolster STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning, promote civic engagement, and help young people acquire the skills they’ll need to be creative problem solvers. To further support educators, each PLT activity displays explicit connections to practices and concepts mandated by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics, and College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies (C3). The activities develop students’ critical thinking skills as they participate in hands-on learning, debate real-life environmental decisions, and engage with their community in action projects.
“The guide is fresh, user-friendly, and works indoors and outdoors, in classrooms and nonformal settings, in urban, suburban, and rural settings” says Jaclyn Stallard, PLT’s Director of Curriculum. “Educators can easily integrate the activities into their existing curriculum or other programming to actively engage students in learning about both the natural world and the built environment. Every activity in the guide suggests ways to take student learning outside, which has only increased in importance to many parents and educators over the last year due to Covid-19.”
PLT is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Since becoming part of SFI in 2017, PLT has won two Learning® Magazine Teachers’ ChoiceSM Awards including for its Energy in Ecosystems curriculum for grades 3-5 in 2019, and its Carbon & Climate curriculum in 2020.
“Exposure to nature has many proven benefits for physical and mental health and learning outdoors can enhance academic achievement,” says Jessica Kaknevicius, Vice President of Education for SFI. “Engaging students in exploring their environment provides important opportunities for youth to become engaged in real world issues. From the earliest grades on up, they see the relevance of their classroom studies and acquire the skills needed for green careers in the 21st century workplace.”