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
Asst. Director, Conservation Education
USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

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

Wanda Barrs
Tree Farmer
Due South Investment

Daniel Benavidez
(retired) Superintendent
Central Consolidated School District
New Mexico

Heather Berklund
Chief State Forester
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resouces 

Barbara Boler
Executive Administrative Assistant
The Langdale Company

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

Jessica Ireland
PLT Coordinator Representative Extension Program Manager
University of Florida 

Beth Marchand 
Director, Product Commercialization
New Hampshire

Ericka Markman
Turo Park Partners LLC

Carmen Ortiz
Learning Designer & Career Coach
Harvard University Graduate School of Education

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

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

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