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
Elizabethtown, KY

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

Janet Ady
Division Chief of Education, Interpretation,
and Partnerships
Bureau of Land Management
Washington, D.C.

Wanda Barrs
Tree Farmer
Due South Investment

Daniel Benavidez
Central Consolidated School District
New Mexico

Denise Buck
Program Director
Pacific Education Institute

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

Jessica Ireland
Extension Program Manager
PLT State Coordinator
University of Florida

Beth Marchand
Managing Director
Bearmark Digital
New Hampshire

Ericka Markman
Turo Park Partners LLC

Carmen Ortiz
Manager, Professional Learning
National Geographic
Washington, D.C.

Karen L. Ostlund, Ph.D.
Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin
UTeach Science Program, College of Natural Sciences

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

Michelle Saulnier
Program Director
Arbor Day Foundation

Ellen Shultzabarger
Pennsylvania State Forester
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Rahul Singh
Anant Corporation
Washington, D.C. 

Laura Six, Ph. D.
Plant Ecologist
Weyerhaeuser Company

Ashley Smith
Alabama SIC Representative
PLT State Coordinator
Alabama Forestry Association

Julia Washburn
Rock Creek National Park
Washington, D.C.