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


Ashley Hoffman
Committee Co-chair
Executive Director
Kentucky Association for Environmental Education

Heidi McAllister
Committee Co-chair
Assistant Director, Conservation Education
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

Janet Ady
(Retired) Bureau of Land Management
Washington, D.C.

Daniel Benavidez
(Retired) Superintendent
Public Schools
New Mexico

Heather Berklund
Chief State Forester
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resouces 

Barbara Boler
PLT Manager
Langdale Woodlands

Asia Dowtin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Urban Forestry
Michigan State University

Larissa Harris-Juip
Ph.D. Candidate in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology
Michigan Technological University

Joe Heimlich, Ph.D.
COSI Center for Research and Evaluation

Jessica Ireland
Director of Education Programs
North Carolina Forestry Association 
North Carolina

Andrea M. Kane, Ph.D.
Professor of Practice in Educational Leadership
University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education
Former Superintendent in Queen Anne’s County Maryland

LeeAnn Mikkelson
(PLT Coordinator Representative)
Director of Oregon Natural Resources Education Program
Oregon State University
Oregon PLT Co-Coordinator

Carmen Ortiz
Instructional Designer, Training & Certification
Amazon Web Services
Washington, D.C.

Shauna Potocky
Education Strategist
National Park Service

Robert Raze, Ph.D.
Professor, College of Education
St. Petersburg College

Michelle Saulnier
Program Director
Arbor Day Foundation

Laura Six, Ph.D.
Plant Ecologist
Weyerhaeuser Company

Susan Stutts
(SFI Implementation Committee Representative)
Senior Director
Texas Forestry Association