The Education Operating Committee (EOC) is a committee of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Board and reports to the SFI Board. It is responsible for providing leadership, direction, and strategy development in connection with Project Learning Tree (PLT) and other educational programs of SFI. The committee develops opportunities to further understanding about natural resource management and complex environmental issues among youth and their families – working with educators, resource management professionals, youth leaders, citizen conservationists, and others in cooperative projects.

The committee’s responsibilities include:

  • Recommending goals and policies for PLT and other educational programs
  • Recommending annual programs, work plans, and budgets for consideration and approval by SFI’s Board of Directors
  • Advocating for PLT
  • Participating in or assisting with PLT’s programs and activities as appropriate
  • Providing guidance related to strategic planning for PLT programs
  • Assessing effectiveness of PLT activities in addressing strategic priorities and recommending improvements or change
  • Ensuring that effective, transparent, and credible mechanisms for awarding of grants, fellowships, prizes, and honors are maintained.

PLT’s Education Operating Committee

Janet Ady
Division Chief of Education, Interpretation,
and Partnerships
Bureau of Land Management
Washington, D.C.
Heidi McAllister
Committee Co-chair
Asst. Director, Conservation Education
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.
Nicole Ardoin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Education
Stanford University
Karen L. Ostlund, Ph.D.
Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin
UTeach Science Program,
College of Natural Sciences
Wanda Barrs
Tree Farmer
Due South Investment
Robert Raze, Ph.D. 
St. Petersburg College 
College of Education
Daniel Benavidez
Zuni Public School District
New Mexico
Thelma Redick
Senior Director, Conservation Content and Partnerships
Wildlife Habitat Council
Denise Buck
Program Director
Pacific Education Institute
Susan M. Schultz
SMS Consulting
Andrew Burnett (retired)
Branch Chief for Interagency Coordination
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Education Outreach
Michelle Saulnier
Program Director
Arbor Day Foundation
Peter Church
State Forester
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Rahul Singh
Anant Corporation
Washington, D.C.
Laura Downey, Ph.D.
Committee Co-Chair
Executive Director
Kansas Association for Conservation
and Environmental Education
Laura Six, Ph. D.
Plant Ecologist
Weyerhaeuser Company
Mary Ford
Education Program Manager
National Geographic Society
Washington, D.C.
Ashley Smith
Alabama PLT State Coordinator
Alabama Forestry Association
Beth Marchand
Managing Director
Bearmark Digital
New Hampshire
Ada Takacs
PLT State Coordinator
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Forest Resources Division