California Naturalist Supports Project Learning Tree

Mar 6, 2020

California Naturalist Supports Project Learning Tree

Mar 6, 2020

UC California Naturalist and our UC Agriculture & Natural Resources statewide program partner Project Learning Tree (PLT) have joined forces to offer a series of workshops in 2020. 

Project Learning Tree uses trees and forests as windows on the world to increase students' understanding of the environment and actions they can take to conserve it. Since 1976, PLT has reached 138 million students and trained 765,000 educators to help students learn how to think, not what to think about complex environmental issues. 

PLT Participant measuring a tree.
Project Learning Tree helps develop students' awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of the environment, builds their skills and ability to make informed decisions, and encourages them to take personal responsibility for sustaining the environment and our quality of life that depends on it. From its beginnings in 1976, PLT has exemplified high-quality environmental education.  

PLT's professional development helps educators learn how to integrate environmental education into their teaching and become comfortable teaching outdoors—in urban, suburban, and rural environments. Workshops and online courses teach educators how best to use PLT's instructional materials with their own students in their own setting and how to engage with (and draw upon) their community in learning about and taking action to address local environmental issues. Continuing education credits are available in most states.

In-person trainings include one-day workshops, in-service days, a series of classes spread throughout a semester, week-long institutes, and other sustained and intensive models. These events are planned and conducted by certified facilitators and customized for specific grade levels, topics, and teaching situations. While we love the in-person contact time when facilitating these workshops, an online course can be completed in your own time, wherever you are. The courses for early childhood, K-8, and becoming a GreenSchool include demonstration videos, simulations, planning exercises, and state-specific resources. Learn more.

PLT workshop participants in Hopland.
Our first event took place at the Hopland Research & Extension Center on February 29, 2020. Formal and informal educators and college students from seven Northern California counties participated in this day long workshop focused on oak woodland ecosystem environmental education. We investigated environmental topics in the oak woodlands with indoor and outdoor activities adaptable to all ages. Instructors included UC ANR Community Education Specialists Hannah Bird (Hopland Research & Extension Center) and Brook Gamble (UC California Naturalist Program). 

The second event took place on March 4 at the Los Angeles Arboretum and Botanic Garden, as day two of a California Naturalist new instructor workshop. New instructors from Bolsa Chica Conservancy, Nature For All, Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, and Community Nature Connection, plus a handful of our existing partners including the Catalina Island Conservancy and the Southern California Mountains Foundation Urban Conservation Corps participated.

Join us to learn about ways to integrate this award-winning curriculum into your programs and teaching. These upcoming events are co-led and sponsored by California Naturalist.

By Brook Gamble
Author - Community Education Specialist 3 (NorCal)