Environmental Education Resources

ee resources

Every month we carefully select new tools and resources that support and enhance Project Learning Tree’s lessons.



Project Learning Tree is excited to offer GreenWorks! grants up to $1,000 again this year. The funds can be used by students to implement recycling programs at their school, conserve water and energy, establish school gardens and outdoor classrooms, improve a forest, restore a natural habitat, and more. The projects must incorporate service learning and involve at least one community partner. The deadline to apply is September 30th. Click here for more information and to apply.




iNaturalist is a species identification app that allows users to record their observations of living things by way of taking photos and appending GPS coordinates to their discoveries. Each user has their own profile and can follow others to keep a tab of what others are posting or share what they have photographed. The app also facilitates connection with thousands of scientists to help users identify the species they have observed.

Another exciting aspect of iNaturalist is that users can contribute their photos and data and participate in a number of citizen science projects. You can find a list of some of these projects here or click on “find your location” using this map to see the observations in your area. You can also develop your own for your school or local community!

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 Guide: Activity 46— School Yard Safari, for Treemendous Science! E-Unit: Activity A — The Closer you Look, and for GreenSchools School Site Investigation)

Starting with Soil

Soil is more than dirt under our feet. Students ages 7-9 can use this Starting with Soil app to learn about the organic materials that make up soil, and how plants and animals work together to make the soil that we depend on to grow food. With this app, developed by the Center for Ecoliteracy, students can simulate the 500-year process of making 1-inch of topsoil by planting seeds and building compost. The app can be accompanied with classroom instruction or students can use it on their own.

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 Guide: Activity 8—The Forest of the S.T. Shrew, Activity 24—Nature’s Recyclers, Activity 70—Soil Stories, and for PLT’s high school module Focus on Forests: Activity 1—Monitoring Forest Health)



Energy and Democracy

Listen to Energy Democracy, a 30-minute podcast from Infinite Earth Academy with Dr. Denise Fairchild, president and CEO of Emerald Cities Collaborative, a national nonprofit organization of business, labor, and community groups dedicated to climate resilience strategies that produce environmental, economic, and equity outcomes. Fairchild discusses the connection between race and energy and the impact of major environmental disasters, extreme weather, and pollution experienced by low income people. Use it to spark a discussion with students in 9th grade and above about our environment, the economy, climate change, and social justice.

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 Guide Activity 57—Democracy in Action, for Focus on Forests Activity 3—Who Own’s America’s Forests? for Places we Live Activity 3—Mapping Your Community through Time and Activity 6—A Vision for the Future)


Activities and Lesson Plans

Investigating Clouds

Learn more about how clouds form and the important role they play in determining the climate. Create clouds and use lasers to study a cloud in your classroom with Investigating Clouds, a hands-on activity from the Explore Science: Earth and Space toolkit. An accompanying Content Training Video and Activity Training Video will help you teach your students how scientists use lasers to investigate and study clouds. Students are also challenged to be citizen scientists in their own community to help NASA collect important scientific data on clouds such as color, size, height, and more.

(resource for PLT’s PreK- Guide: Activity 29—Rain Reasons and Activity 86—Our Changing World)

Investigate Solutions to Abandoned Mine Drainage

For a variation on PLT’s popular activity “Forest Consequences,” have your students engage in a mock debate using this role playing activity Abandoned Mine Drainage in Pennsylvania from the Lehigh Environmental Initiative at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Students investigate drainage issues from abandoned mines from differing perspectives, identify problems, search for a solution, evaluate options, and decide on a course of action to treat and clean up contaminated streams and rivers across Pennsylvania.

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 Guide: Activity 33—Forest Consequences, Activity 36— Pollution Search, and Activity 56—We Can Work it Out)



The World’s Watersheds

Water is one of our most important resources! Earth’s rivers form watersheds to carry freshwater to communities and all living species around the globe. These Beautiful Maps of the World’s Watersheds, artistically mapped by geographer Szűcs Róbert, highlight the world’s permanent and temporary streams and rivers. The stunning images depict the dominant drainage systems of the world’s water. 

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 Guide: Activity 38— Every Drop Counts, Activity 44— Water Wonders, and Activity 71—Watch the Wetlands, for GreenSchools Water Investigations and for PLT’s high school module Focus on Forests Activity 6— Forest to Faucet)



Jobs in Forestry

Learn more about the wide range of employment opportunities available in the forest sector with this 24-page publication Find your Path from the Oregon Forest Resources Institute. Meet a professional in the field and learn more about what they do on a day-to-day basis.

(resource for PLT’s PreK-8 Guide: Activity 34—Who Works in the Forest? and Activity 58—There Ought to Be a Law, for GreenSchools Investigations, and for PLT’s high school module Focus on Forests: Activity 1—Monitoring Forest Health)


Professional Development

Slide Show: A Closer Look at PLT’s Online Workshops

slide-show-introduction-PLT-online-workshopsTake a look at this video slide show we’ve created, A Closer Look at PLT’s Online Workshops: What’s included and how to get started, to give you a flavor of PLT’s self-directed online courses that educators can access anytime, anywhere. You’ll learn what’s included, key features that provide a quality online learning experience, and how to earn continuing education credits. You’ll also hear feedback from educators who have tried a PLT online course.

Each online workshop includes an electronic version of a PLT supplemental curriculum guide and interactive features to guide you through the content. Lesson planning worksheets and videos of educators demonstrating PLT activities help you plan and facilitate a similar experience with your students and provide ideas for you to tailor the lesson to your curriculum and classroom. Some courses include quizzes and simulations for you to try out an activity from a student’s point of view.

Many of our state partners have added supplemental content to offer you a customized workshop experience. These include website scavenger hunts, lists of state-specific resources, and ideas for local place-based education.


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