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August 16, 2011 > Focus on forests

Focus on forests

Submitted By Vanessa Bullwinkle

Do students know the water from their faucet might be naturally filtered by a forest instead of a water treatment plant? Do they know they can calculate the carbon sequestered by the trees in their own backyard? Do they know that one of the biggest threats to America's forests is the transfer of family property between generations?

These big-picture and thought-provoking questions are examples of some of the topics explored in a new Project Learning Tree(r) (PLT) environmental education curriculum resource for high school teachers. Nine activities in the guide, "Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Forests," teach students about forest health, watersheds, climate change, who owns America's forests, and more.

This resource helps teachers provide students with meaningful experiences related to classroom content. Lesson plans address a multitude of subject areas, including STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math), civics, and social studies. A "knowledge primer," ready-to-use student worksheets, hands-on classroom lessons and field investigations help students develop an understanding and appreciation for stewardship and informed decision-making on issues that affect forests. The activities develop students' critical thinking skills, and students engage in debates about real-life forest management decisions.

High school educators and junior college professors can obtain a copy of the guide by attending a PLT professional development workshop in their area. More than 30,000 PreK-12 educators are trained every year through 1,500 workshops held across the country.

Developed in 1976, Project Learning Tree(r) (PLT), a program of the American Forest Foundation, uses forests as a window on the world and provides educators with environmental education curriculum resources that can be integrated into lesson plans for all grades and subject areas. For more information, visit

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