(Town of Lenox, NY – April 2013) On May 18 the Great Swamp Conservancy will host the New York Project Learning Tree. This 6-hour training program will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the focus is on educators, teachers, scout and 4-H leaders, museums and nature centers, especially those who deal with students. The program is limited to 30 participants and one must pre-register (no fee).

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for educators working with students in grades pre-K through12. It uses the forest for a “window” into the natural world, helping young people gain an awareness of the world around them, as well as their place within it.  PLT works in the city and the country, be it a forest or a single tree.

Sponsored by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the NYS Education Dept. PLT is a network of community leaders, educational administrators, and representatives from the forest products industry, resource agencies, and conservation groups working together.

PLT was started in 1973 when natural resource managers from the American Forest Institute (now the American Forest Foundation) and the Western Regional Environmental Education Council (now the Council of Environmental Education) formed a partnership to develop an unbiased, educationally sound program for elementary, intermediate, and secondary students and their teachers.  To date PLT has reached more than 500,000 educators and over 25 million students worldwide.

PLT activities meet NYS Science and Social Studies Core Curriculum standards. These activities require minimal preparation to be included in plans or plans aligned with state and local curriculum objectives or guidelines.  PLT activities can be easily incorporated into science, language arts, math, special education and other classes.  To obtain PLT materials you must attend a six hour workshop.

Topics included in the activity guides are Energy and Society Components, Focusing on Forests, The Changing Forest-Forest Ecology. Municipal Solid Waste, Focus of Risk, The Places We Live, Biodiversity, and Forests of the World. PLT’s “Greenworks! Program” links service learning with community action.

Our nation’s children are suffering from nature deficit disorder…..not enough time spent outdoors. This program’s mission is to 1. Increase students understanding of our environment.  2.  Stimulate students critical and creative thinking.  3. Develop the ability of students to make informed decisions on environmental issues.  4. Instill in students the confidence and commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment.

The PLT activities are action oriented, can be used in any order and require little, if anything, in the way of equipment.  Young people must be taught to get outside and learn the value of our environment: we will all be better for it.

Tom Shimalla, NYS DEC forester and educator will lead this workshop. Call the GSC at 697-2950 or email us at greatswampconservancy@gmail.com to make your reservation.




By martha

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