Project Learning Tree

What Is Project Learning Tree?

Project Learning Tree is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators working with student in pre-K through grade 12. Since its inception in 1973, Project Learning Tree has emerged as one of the country's leading and most widely-used environmental programs and has served over 20 million elementary students worldwide.

PLT uses the forest as a "window" into natural and built environments, helping students gain an awareness and knowledge of the world around them, as well as their place in it. PLT focuses on the total environment --- land, air and water--- and is local, national, and global in scope. PLT works in the city, suburbs, and country and both in the classroom and outdoors.

PLT is a source of interdisciplinary instructional activities and provides workshops and in-service training for teachers and other educators. During the workshop, participants are introduced to the PLT activity guide and learn how to use it in their own particular setting.


A new PLT curriculum was developed in 1993 and began with a survey of more than 50,000 teachers, environmental educators and curriculum specialists from across North America. Three hundred educators participated in writing workshops and editing sessions, and another 300 educators took part in pilot-tests, and formal evaluations of the materials. This new curriculum is both state-of-the-art and educationally sound.


  • Increase student understanding of our environment.
  • Stimulate students' critical and creative thinking.
  • Develop student's ability to make informed decisions on environmental issues.
  • Instill in students the confidence and commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment.


  • Create awareness, appreciation, understanding, skills and commitment to address environmental issues.
  • Provide a framework for students to apply scientific processes and higher order thinking skills to resolve environmental problems.
  • Increase appreciation and tolerance of diverse viewpoints on environmental issues by developing attitudes and actions based on analysis and evaluation of the available information.
  • Stimulate creativity, originality and flexibility to resolve environmental problems and issues.
  • Encourage students to become responsible, productive and participatory members of society.


  • PLT focuses on developing critical thinking skills. It does not seek to teach children what to think about the environment, but teaches them how to think about the environment.
  • PLT activities incorporate important environmental lessons into all areas of the curriculum. They can be infused into science, language arts, social studies, reading, arithmetic, art, music, civics, etc.
  • PLT's curriculum includes role-playing exercise that echo the real decisions that are being made in the students' communities.
  • PLT activities are action-oriented, can be used in any order, and require little, if any, equipment.
  • PLT provides ready-made lessons and activities that can be incorporated into busy classroom schedules. The curriculum is " classroom friendly," requires minimal preparation, and, according to teachers and students, is fun to use.
  • PLT activities are correlated to the benchmarks in the LA State Department of Education content standards for science, social studies, math and language arts in grades K - 12.


The PLT Curriculum is built around five major themes. PLT activities integrate the themes into all aspects of the standard pre-K through grade 12 curriculum. Each activity guides the student through a process that begins with awareness, moves students toward understanding, enables them to challenge preconceived notions, and motivates them to seek constructive avenues for environmental action.


  • Diversity: demonstrates a wide array of habitats, societies, technologies and cultures
  • Interrelationships: highlights ecological, technological and social-cultural systems as interactive and interdependent.
  • Systems: teaches how environmental, technological and social systems are interconnected.
  • Structure & Scale: demonstrates how technologies, societal institutions and components of natural and human-built environments vary.
  • Patterns of Change: shows how structures and systems change over time.


Workshops include 6 hours of instruction time and lunch period with a materials cost of $15.00 per participant.


PLT is co-sponsored by the American Forest Foundation and the Western Regional Environmental Education Council and is supported by an international network of resource management professionals, state and federal government agencies, professional associations, business and industry, and PLT staff.

In each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a PLT State Coordinator provides workshops for educators, trains workshop leaders and works to insure that PLT meets the needs of educators within that state.


If you would like to attend a PLT workshop, become a trained workshop leader or gain more information about PLT, contact your state coordinator, Jim Culpepper at (225) 925-4500. We look forward to hearing from you!



State PLT Co-coordinator
Louisiana Office of Forestry
Post Office Box 1628
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
(225) 925-4500

State PLT Co-coordinator
Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service
Post Office Box 370
Benton, Louisiana
(318) 965-2326

State PLT Co-coordinator
Louisiana Forestry Association
Post Office Drawer 5067
Alexandria, Louisiana
(318) 443-2558

Visit the National Project Learning Tree Web Site at:



Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 602 N. Fifth Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802
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