Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed primarily for teachers and other educators working with students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. Special modules, or teaching units, are available for high school level teachers.
For further information, to set up a PLT workshop in a certain area of the state and/or to be placed on the Taproot newsletter mailing list, contact:
South Dakota Project Learning Tree
Today's children face tougher choices than any generation before them. Environmental and health concerns are at the top of the list. There is a wealth of available information designed to influence children and/or assist them in making decisions. Unfortunately, many of the issues are complex and not all of the available information is accurate. In order for students and adults to make sound decisions about environmental issues and natural resources, they need a basic understanding about how the environment works as well as skills to critically evaluate information. That is what programs like Project Learning Tree (PLT) strive to provide.
PLT is an award-winning environmental education program designed primarily for teachers and other educators working with students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. Special modules, or teaching units, are available for high school level teachers. PLT uses the forest as a "window" into the natural world, helping young people gain an awareness and knowledge of the world around them, as well as their place within it. While the focus is on forests and trees, the real target is teaching children to learn how to think - rather than what to think - about our complex environment with respect to natural resource and environmental issues facing us today.
From the beginning, PLT materials have been produced by teachers, scientists, resource managers, and industry professionals working together and striving for factual accuracy and non-bias. A major goal was helping students learn about local and global environmental issues. PLT is not apocalyptic; it is not pro- or anti-business and industry. Simply put, it is pro-learning.
Since its introduction in the early 1970s, Project Learning Tree (PLT) has been recognized as one of the premier environmental education programs in the world.
Through hands-on, interdisciplinary activities, PLT provides students with opportunities to investigate environmental issues and encourage them to make informed, responsible decisions.
It is a volunteer program that works in conjunction with local schools and a network of trained facilitators across the state to bring teachers the materials they need to incorporate quality environmental education into their current teaching curriculum.
The program was developed through a joint effort of the American Forest Foundation (AFF) and Western Regional Environmental Education Council (WREEC). WREEC also developed Project WILD, a similar environmental education program which emphasized wildlife rather than trees and forests.
The 96 action-oriented activities contained in the Environmental Education Pre K-8 Activity Guide were designed to provide students with the awareness, understanding, and skills they need to become intelligent environmental decision makers.
They are intended to help students critically evaluate all the information that is available to them and guide them from awareness to conceptual understanding and responsible action.The Activity Guide is arranged into five major themes:
PLT focuses on developing critical thinking skills. It gives teachers the tools they need to help children learn how to think about the environment. PLT is not just about trees. It is about the total environment: land, air, water, and wildlife.
It is local, national, and global in scope. PLT can be applied in many different contexts such as formal education settings, youth organizations, or by parents with their children. It can be used in museums, nature centers, and by scout troops. It appeals to a broad range of young people -- children of all ages, learning styles, ethnic and racial backgrounds.