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Thursday
Mar192015

Exploring Maine’s Natural Resources with Project Learning Tree

With close to 90% forest cover, Maine stands as the most forested state in the country which is one of many reasons why the Maine TREE Foundation sponsors Project Learning Tree (PLT). What is PLT and how does it work?

Project Learning Tree is an international award-winning environmental education program with curriculum for educators from Early Childhood through high school. PLT offers natural resource workshops throughout the state that teach not only about trees, but also about land, air and water. These workshops are designed to integrate the needs of the school and community with best practices for environmental education. Teachers, natural resource professionals, community leaders, homeschoolers and college students attend these sessions which include time for exploring the outdoors with field investigations.

A Maine PLT workshop may include studies of invasive species, tree identification, forest management, soilAnita Smith & Kelly Kelley at the MEPLT facilitator training last Spring studies, tree products or tree measurement. Other examples of Maine PLT offerings include Forest Field Days with schools, communities and land trusts; information about establishing Outdoor Classrooms; the Forest Inventory Growth (FIG) project which provides students with experiences in setting up permanent forest plots, collecting data about that plot and then entering findings on a FIG website; presenting a PLT workshop on Day One of Summer Teachers’ Tours.

Why outdoors?

Getting kids out in nature is more essential today given that children are spending nearly 8 hours a day using entertainment media and only 6 percent of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own. We are at risk of losing an entire generation’s appreciation for how nature works and what it needs to remain healthy and productive. Tomorrow's leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow's challenges, and we must adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit. That requires a commitment to providing children with environmental education that leads them toward becoming the global leaders of tomorrow.

And we are standards based!

Visit the Project Learning Tree website to learn about PLT’s commitment to current educational needs and how the curriculum provides teachers with ready to use lessons that meet in-school requirements.