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MAINE Project Learning Tree

Pat Maloney, PLT State Coordinator
153 Hospital St., Augusta, ME 04330


Maine PLT 35 years of delivering quality EE to Maine schools


Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award winning international environmental education program. It uses the forest as a "window on the world" to increase students' understanding of our complex environment. PLT teaches not only about trees, but has informative lessons about land, the air, and the water. These lessons help to instill the confidence and commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment.

The 2014-2017 MAINE PLT Strategic Plan has been finalized and approved by the ME PLT Steering Committee. Click here for the plan.

Teacher Resource List–Outdoor Education and Forests

PLT is an international program operating in all 50 states, several US territories and many other countries.

PLT activities are:

  • Hands-on

  • Appropriate for indoor and outdoor learning

  • Designed for formal and non-formal educators of children in grades PreK through 12

  • Interdisciplinary-integrating important environmental lessons into the sciences, mathematics, art, social studies, language arts, music, &  English.


Project Learning Tree (PLT) Workshops

Lesley College students at PLT workshop on Cobscook Bay

PLT-trained facilitators conduct workshops for educators throughout Maine. A PLT workshop (usually about six hours long) can be arranged at a variety of locations during weekends, weeknights, work hours, or after school. Educators receive written curriculum materials as well as practical, hands-on training during the workshop. 

Workshop participants will learn about new sources of information and identify resources. They receive the PLT curriculum guides, the Tree Links manual, a Maine Forests Forever Green CD-ROM and information about programs available to PLT educators.

Spruce Budworm Lessons

The spruce budworm Choristoneura fumiferana (Clemens) is one of the most destructive native insects in the northern spruce and fir forests of the Eastern United States and Canada. Periodic outbreaks of the spruce budworm are a part of the natural cycle of events associated with the maturing of balsam fir.

The first recorded outbreak of the spruce budworm in the United States occurred in Maine about 1807. Another outbreak followed in 1878. Since 1909 there have been waves of budworm out breaks throughout the Eastern United States and Canada. The States most often affected are Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. These outbreaks have resulted in the loss of millions of cords of spruce and fir.

Read SBW lessons from two Maine teachers who have developed lessons for students and for their communities:  

Created by Don Sprangers, Washington Academy, E. Machias Maine:

Preparing for the next Spruce Budworm Outbreak   

Created by Susan Linscott, Lee Academy, Lee, Maine:

Spruce Budworm Community Outreach Program 

         Spruce Budworm Community Outreach Rubric




Ready to Use - Elementary Forestry Activity:

Laurie Haines, Lewiston HS Science teacher, has designed a template for students to use when creating a file about their Adopted Tree or their Adopted Forest. A file folder, a camera, creative writing and the PLT PreK-8 guide are all you need to prepare and present this hands-on and individualized activity great for any age.   


Jon Millet, Cony HS Civics teacher prepared two forest related lessons following his participation in a summer MTF/PLT Teachers’ Tour. Thanks to Jon for sharing these forest economy related lessons written for grades 11 and 12. Read the lessons by clicking on the link below.

Topic:  Maine’s Forest Industry

OBJECTIVE:  The Student will learn the role Maine’s Forest Industry plays in the economy of Maine.

Content Area: Maine Learning Results Literacy in History/SS Subjects 6-12

Performance Indicator: CCSI Maine Learning Results Reading/Writing for SS

Rationale:  Provides students with background information about the Maine Forest Industry and its influence on the Maine Economy.  Students will supplement information with their own research.

Click Here

Topic:  Maine’s Forest Industry

OBJECTIVE:  The Student will promote the use of Government Fiscal Policy to support growth and sustainability for the Forest Industry/Products Sector.

Content Area: Maine Learning Results Literacy in History/SS Subjects 6-12

Click Here


Andrew Merrill, Oxford Hills teacher, put together a lesson plan for his Hospitality course.  Check out how he has tied together student objectives and experiences while connecting them to a variety of PLT lessons – see the link below

Discuss Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation Management.

1.     Four Stages of a guest cycle

2.     Guest experience starts with the seamless guest experience as the base of Maslow's Hierarchy.

3.     Inspiration/Higher level experiences comes from the additional stimulation and personal growth from taking a piece when you go.

Click Here


Photography for place based learning:

Laurie Haines uses digital photography to get students to see and record information about their “place”. This Laurie designed lesson is complete with an introduction, outdoor and indoor applications and resources for using photography as a teaching/learning tool. Her resources and teaching strategies make this a ready to use lesson. Check out another of Laurie’s lessons for place based science field studies.



 Demonstration Forest Handbook

PLT Outdoor Classroom and Demonstration Learning Guide


Creating a Demonstration Forest Handbook

A handbook to Plan, Fund, Build, and Effectively Use a Community Educational Resource.


NEW!  Maine Forest Service Video on Woodland Stewardship!


This video is about the Town of Falmouth's management of its public forests and how it benefits the community.


Unity College Research Project

Unity College students and professors designed a Hemlock Woolly Adelgid research project with support from the University of Maine and EPSCoR. The content and protocol for study plots supports our Forest Inventory Growth.

(FIG) project and provides authentic field investigations that teachers might use with h.s. students. The HWA is a real threat to ME and teaching about it may help in reducing its spread. Allison Kanoti, entomologist with the ME Forest Service, introduced this aphid-like insect and its threats to Lincoln MS 7th graders at a 2013 Forestry Day in Baxter Woods Park.  Click here for the presentation.



Watch Out for these two Forest Invaders

By Nancy Olmstead
Maine Natural Areas Program, Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

Invasive plants such as Japanese barberry and common buckthorn are a threat to forest regeneration, wildlife, and even human and animal health.  Unfortunately, these two species could go undetected on your woodlot or town forest because they are shade-tolerant and will grow in the forest understory.  Read the full article to learn what you can do to reduce these plants from spreading, how to identify the plants and a citizen science mapping tool for locating their presence.

Click here for the article.



Common Core State Guidelines


In 2012, Project Learning Tree completed PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide correlations with the Common Core State Standards for both English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. The Cover Page document on the link below provides guidance for using both sets of Common Core Standards correlations.




Walk in the Forest guide:

This guide will help you plan an event for adults, families, students or teachers.  Walk in the Forest helps audiences of all ages unplug from their busy lives andwitness the wonder of nature. It provides a great opportunity for people to appreciate forests, and to teach others about the benefits forests provide and how forest management can enhance those benefits.



"Forests provide the best land cover when it comes to protecting soil, moderating streamflow, supporting healthy aquatic systems, and sustaining good water quality." Barnes et. al. 2009 Forests Water & People

Link to A Maine Forest Service PowerPoint: Maine Forests Produce Excellent Water Quality



The Kennebec Woodland Partnership is a county-based initiative launched in 2009 to provide tools and strategies to help landowners make informed decisions about their woodlands and ensure a sustainable future for the county’s forests.


The Maine Environmental Education Association (MEEA) facilitates and promotes environmental education in Maine through the sharing of ideas, resources, information, and cooperative programs among educators, organizations, and concerned individuals. MEEA is built on the strengths and contributions of our members.

Created in 1982, MEEA helps organizations, schools, groups, educational programs, and individuals promote and expand environmental education in Maine. In addition, MEEA acts as a clearing house, keeping groups and individuals informed of issues and events in the field of environmental education. We believe conserving Maine's rich cultural and natural heritage requires an environmentally aware citizenship.

MEEA is an affiliate of the New England Environmental Education Alliance and the North American Association of Environmental

Why Teach Outside in Winter?

By Olivia Griset and Corie Scribner

With much of the U.S. in winter’s grip, two educators from Maine show how teaching outside in winter can be an outstanding educational opportunity for students of all ages. You’ll be inspired by their tips for making outdoor learning safe and fun this season.

Nature Journaling with PLT

By Rob Beadel

Discover how experiential learning across all subjects can be achieved by encouraging your students to use a nature journal.


Looking for a concise and illustrated guide to understanding trees? The following site is perfect for student research and use with your outdoor learning experiences:

The “Silvics of North America” Volume 1 –Conifers and Volume 2 – Hardwoods provide a maximum age attained for each species.

Recommended Websites Featuring information on Children & Nature

Children & Nature Network: Building a Movement to Reconnect Children and Nature.

No Child Left Inside:  A special initiative of Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell, coordinated by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to encourage Connecticut families and visitors alike to enjoy all the recreational resources and outdoor activities available in Connecticut's state parks, forests and waterways.  From Kent Falls in Kent to Stratton Brook in Simsbury to Fort Trumbull in New London, it's time to discover the great outdoors!

Website links to the Maine Learning Results & the National Common Core Standards

Maine Learning Results: Maine’s Learning Results serve as the focal point for state and local efforts to improve student learning, define professional development needs, update local curriculum and instructional practices, and assess student achievement. The Learning Results web pages provide information about the rich activity currently underway both in the Department and in schools and educational organizations around the state.

The Common Core State Standards: The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

The next Generation Science Standards have been released:

Plus Science, Technology, Engineering, Math STEM Connections:

Click here:

Click here:


The PLT PreK-8 Guide - Resources by Activity:
Click On: Resources then PreK-8 Guide Resources by Activity

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