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Who We Are

Mission, Goals & Governance


PLT advances environmental literacy and promotes stewardship through excellence in environmental education, professional development, and curriculum resources that use trees and forests as windows on the world.


PLT is committed to creating a future where the next generation values the natural world and has the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions and take responsible actions to sustain forests and the broader environment.


  • To develop students' awareness, appreciation, skills, and commitment to address environmental issues.
  • To provide a framework for students to apply scientific processes and higher order thinking skills to resolve environmental problems.
  • To help students acquire an appreciation and tolerance of diverse viewpoints on environmental issues and develop attitudes and actions based on analysis and evaluation of the available information.
  • To encourage creativity, originality, and flexibility to resolve environmental problems and issues.
  • To inspire and empower students to become responsible, productive, and participatory members of society.

Strategic Plan

View and download PLT's Strategic plan for 2012-2015. We developed this Strategic Plan in order to provide a four-year roadmap that will enable PLT to remain the cornerstone for high quality Environmental Education. The plan was developed with broad involvement and guidance from the PLT Education Operating Committee, staff, network of PLT State Partners, and other key stakeholders. The planning process enabled PLT to assess the challenges and opportunities we are likely to face over the next four years to determine the best goals and objectives for taking full advantage of the opportunities while successfully navigating the challenges.


The Education Operating Committee provides governance and leadership to PLT and other educational programs of the American Forest Foundation. The committee develops opportunities for young people and their families to better understand environmental issues by cooperating on projects with educators, resource management professionals, youth leaders, and citizen conservationists.

The committee’s responsibilities include:

  • Recommending  goals and policies for PLT and other educational programs
  • Developing annual operating plans and budgets for the Foundation’s Board of Trustees’ approval
  • Assisting with fundraising activities
  • Participating in PLT’s programs and activities
  • Initiating strategic planning for PLT and other AFF education programs


PLT's Education Operating Committee

Rob Beadel
State Coordinator Representative
Director of Forestry Education
Arkansas Forestry Association

Andrew Burnett
Branch Chief for Interagency
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Education Outreach

Laura Downey, Ph.D.
Committee Co-Chair
State Coordinator Representative Executive Director
Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education Kansas

Mary Ford
Education Program Manager
National Geographic Society
Washington, D.C.

Nat Frazer, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, PKAL
Utah State University

Frank Gallagher, Ph.D.
Committee Co-Chair

Rutgers, The State University
of New Jersey
New Jersey

Mike Irvin
Oil City Elementary
Magnet School

Beth Marchand
Marketing Manager
Eastern Mountain Sports
New Hampshire

Heidi McAllister
Acting Director, Conservation Education
U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Karen L. Ostlund
Retiring President
National Science Teachers Association

Rafael Salgado
Executive Director
Cal-Wood Education Center

Susan M. Schultz
Stewardship, Education & Marketplace Project Manager
National Association of Conservation Districts

Bora Simmons, Ph.D.
Director, National Project for
Excellence in EE
University of Oregon

Brenda Weiser, Ed.D.
Associate Professor,
Science Education
University of Houston
Clear Lake

Meta Williams
Regional Development Director
United Negro College Fund

Rick Zenn
Senior Fellow 
World Forestry Center