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Project Learning Tree

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Correlated standards | SCPLT Facilitator’s Corner | SCPLT EE Centers | Outstanding Educator of the Year Award

Teaching kids HOW to think, not WHAT to think…

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning international environmental education program of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. It is designed for teachers and informal educators who work with students from early childhood through high school. It is one of the most widely used environmental education programs in the United States and abroad, and continues to set the standard for environmental education excellence. In South Carolina, Project Learning Tree is jointly sponsored by the SC Forestry Commission, the Forestry Association of South Carolina and the SC Department of Education. PLT uses the forest as a window into the natural world, helping young people gain an awareness and knowledge of the environment and their place within it. But there’s so much more:

Teachers get ready to play Birds & Worms
  • PLT teaches students “how to think, not what to think” about complex environmental issues.
  • PLT activities supplement existing curricula;
  • PLT activities are hands-on and action-oriented;
  • PLT activities easily adapt to many settings: classroom, outdoors, the home, city, forest etc.;
  • PLT is multi-disciplinary; it’s not just science!
  • PLT materials are designed for teachers by teachers, and do not require expensive equipment or kits.

Professional Development EVENTS

PLT for Educators – August 17, 2024, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center in Georgetown
Project Learning Tree’s new flagship curriculum Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide provides 50 hands-on, multidisciplinary activities to connect children to nature and increase young people’s awareness and knowledge about their environment. Participants will be trained in and receive the Explore Your Environment: K-8 Activity Guide. Educators will participate in several indoor and outdoor activities from the guide, learn about the PLT program, get access to local and online resources, and develop a lesson plan to use with their students. This workshop is approved for 5 hours of SCDE renewal credits.

Request a Virtual or In-person Training for your School, College, or Organization
SC PLT has funding to offer trainings -free of charge- to pre-service educators studying education, students majoring in natural resources, in-service educators, and early childhood educators registered through DSS. The funded trainings can be offered to these individuals if their associated school, district, or center requests a workshop. Other PLT trainings require a $20 per participant fee.

Download a Flyer for More Information


PLT correlates its curricula to state and national standards

One way in which PLT curricula are among the most widely used supplements nationwide is by correlating the materials to national and state educational standards. This allows educators to meet educational goals easily by using PLT activities in the classroom. Additionally, non-formal educators can structure programs to meet educational standards by using these correlations.

National Standards

PLT creative activity
  • PLT has correlated many of its activity guides to the Common Core State Standards for both English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), National Social Studies Standards, and other national standards for education.  These correlations may be found online at:  https://www.plt.org/alignment-to-standards/national.
  • Correlations have also been completed for non-formal education programs including 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Full Option Science System (FOSS), and other national non-formal programs.  These correlations may be found online at: https://www.plt.org/alignment-to-standards/nonformal.

South Carolina standards

Teachers learn tree id.

For South Carolina educators, PLT materials have been correlated to the South Carolina Academic Standards and South Carolina’s Early Learning Standards. Below are the correlations by grade. You must have access to, at the minimum, Adobe Acrobat Reader, to open the files.

Trees & Me: Activities for Exploring Nature with Young Children Activity Guide correlations to SC Early Learning Standards

PLT tree art activity

Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood Activity Guide Correlations

K-8 Explore Your Environment and HS Focus on Forests Activity Guide Correlations to 2023 ELA, 2021 Science, 2019 Social Studies, and 2015 Math Standards


SC PLT Facilitators’ Corner

The SC PLT Facilitator handbook, resources, and forms are located at:  https://sites.google.com/view/sc-ee-projects/home.

Facilitator Reward Program Standings 4/1/24

2024 PLT Facilitator Refresher – July 24, 2024
The 2024 Facilitator Refresher will be at Hay Hill Farm in St. Matthews on July 24. Please RSVP to Matt Schnabel by Friday, July 19.

2023 Facilitator Refresher Recap Read about the annual reunion and refresher for SC PLT Facilitators hosted by Billy Cate at Buckeye Farm.


SC PLT Environmental Education Centers

SC Project Learning Tree Environmental Education Centers promote collaborations that encourage long-term, high-quality environmental education programing. SC PLT EE Centers increase opportunities for PLT professional development events and outreach to impact a larger number of diverse communities. Free educational kits are available at the centers to help increase educator’s implementation of PLT. South Carolina has five PLT Environmental Education Centers located across the state. For more information, please view the SC Project Learning Tree Environmental Education Centers webpage.

SC PLT Jerry L. Shrum Leadership in Education Award

Apply here for the SC PLT 2024 Jerry L. Shrum Leadership in Education Award.
Nominations are being accepted for the 2024 SC PLT Jerry L. Shrum Leadership in Education Award through June 30.

Previous winners:

2023 SC PLT Outstanding Educator – Dr. Lynn Hoekstra
2022 SC PLT Outstanding Educator – Diane Curlee
2021 SC PLT Outstanding Educator – Dodie Clark

Want to know more?

For more information on PLT in South Carolina, including upcoming professional development (PD) events, please contact SCFC Environmental Education Coordinator Matt Schnabel at mschnabel@scfc.gov or (803) 896-8892.

Want to attend a SC Project Learning Tree PD Event? Upcoming Professional Development Event Fliers

To learn about the progress of PLT in SC, please view the 2023 SC PLT Annual Report.

For more information on the PLT program and materials, visit the National PLT website.

South Carolina PLT on Facebook