Rob Marohn, who was first introduced to PLT in college, now uses PLT activities every week with his fifth grade students at Bay View Elementary School in Duluth, Minnesota. Rob is a tireless advocate for the Bay View School Forest and is also its primary steward. He encourages all teachers to use the forest site and has helped train fellow educators in how to teach in an outdoor setting to enhance classroom learning, including hosting a two-day PLT “How to Teach in Your School Forest” workshop.
Rob uses PLT in two programs he created for students: Forest Buddies, in which fifth graders take younger students into the forest to conduct PLT activities, and the after-school Bay View School Forest Club, which offers activities focusing on recreation, education, and conservation for different grade levels each month. Rob’s students have made several presentations to the Proctor and Duluth City Councils on issues affecting forests, watershed health, and land development.
Rob himself is working with the State of Minnesota, St. Louis County, and City of Duluth to secure an additional 90 acres for the Proctor School District to utilize as a school forest. In addition to planning for an eight-week Urban Wilderness Summer Camp and managing bins full of worms used for vermicomposting, this spring Rob has been helping his students prepare five gallons of maple syrup for their annual community pancake breakfast. The funds generated from this event support their class field trip, a two-night stay at an environmental learning center.
The mayor appointed Rob to the City of Duluth Tree Commission. Rob is also a board member of the Superior Hiking Trail Association and Hartley Nature Center, as well as a City of Duluth Parks and recreation volunteer. He has helped edit several curriculum guides used statewide, including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Minnesota School Forest Handbook. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Education: Natural Science and Environmental Education degree at Hamline University.
Rob was named National PLT Outstanding Educator in 2008.