Project Learning Tree releases new Explore Your Environment: K-8 activity guide for elementary and middle school educators

UNDATED – 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.

Jaclyn Stallard, PLT’s Director of Curriculum

“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.

Jessica Kaknevicius, Vice President of Education for SFI

“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.”

About Project Learning Tree
PLT is an award-winning environmental education program that advances environmental literacy, stewardship and career pathways using trees and forests as windows on the world. PLT teaches kids how to think, not what to think about the environment and supports getting youth into nature in ways that are meaningful, that inspire them to become environmental stewards and future conservation leaders, and that introduce them to green careers. PLT is an initiative of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Learn more:

About the Sustainable Forestry Initiative
SFI advances sustainability through forest-focused collaborations. SFI is an independent, non-profit 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. SFI collaborates with its network to 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. Learn more at