PLT In The News

PLT Facilitator Is now Dr. D!

Congratulations to Dr. Dorothy Shapland, Early Childhood Education faculty at Metropolitan State University of Denver, upon the completion of your Doctorate in Leadership in Educational Equity, Early Childhood Special Education Concentration, from the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado!

We are fortunate to have your expertise and commitment to environmental education for all children in our network of Tree-Mendous Facilitators. 

Debut of Spanish Language Early Childhood Trainings!

One of our newest facilitators jumps into teaching with our Spanish trainings.

One of our newest facilitators jumps into teaching for PLT with our first Spanish training.

These "binoculars" help focus a student's attention on a particular location.

These “binoculars” help focus a student’s attention on a particular location.

On September 10, we held our first official all-Spanish Language Early Childhood Experiences workshop in partnership with the Denver Early Childhood Council! Proyecto Aprendiendo del Arbol: Experiencias Ambientales Para Educacion Inicial.     We’re beginning a new movement to use PLT Early Childhood materials to help prepare ALL children for school, and to live responsibly in our shared environment. We’re so excited to have the Spanish translation of our ECE book from the Mexico PLT coordinators to use here in Colorado.  What a great, fun group of newly trained PLT educators–scientists, family advocates, home care providers, and community organizers!

CO Early Childhood PLT Earns CDE Approval!

The CO PLT Early Childhood program, Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood, has earned TTASC approval (Trainer/Training Approval System of Colorado) for Qualistar and is a Colorado Department of Education approved Early Childhood Training!

In an effort to maintain a high standard for quality early childhood programing, the CDE and Qualistar have worked together to setup an application and approval process for ECE programs and professionals to apply for approval and recognition from these organizations. CO PLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood program began the application process early last year and recently received the good news of their approval.

Receiving CDE and Qualistar approval is a great recommendation and supports the level of quality programing PLT strives to offer educators around the world.


New Federal Education Legislation Includes EE!

The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind, includes important provisions to support environmental education in the nation’s classrooms and schoolyards.  Title IV of the new bill provides federal grant funding for environmental literacy programs (sounds like Project Learning Tree!) and hands-on, field-based, or service learning to enhance the understanding of science, technology, engineering and math subjects (sounds like PLT GreenSchools!).

“The inclusion of environmental education language in the Every Student Succeeds Act signifies an important step forward for teachers and school systems who know what a rich and engaging context the local environment is for learning,” said Judy Braus, Executive Director of NAAEE. “We congratulate Congressional leaders for recognizing the role that environmental education can play in providing students with a well-rounded, 21st century education and preparing them for a lifetime of success.”

Here at Colorado Project Learning Tree, we celebrate environmental education being in the national spotlight and look forward to opportunity to get our proven effective, high-quality resources into the hands of more teachers.

To read more about this exciting new opportunity to get EE and PLT into more of our nations schools, visit the North American Association for Environmental Education, Senator Jack Reed’s Office, or the White House Fact Sheet.

We’re BRANCHING OUT with ONLINE Workshops!

PLT now offers online training in Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood, Environmental Education for PreK-8and PLT GreenSchools service learning investigations.

These online workshops are specially designed to help you:

  • Engage your students in learning about the environment—both outside and indoors
  • Make learning and teaching fun with hands-on activities
  • Teach core subjects (especially STEM, reading, writing, and social studies)
  • Meet academic standards (including Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards)
  • Easily incorporate lessons into your existing curriculum or nonformal education programs
  • Become eligible to apply for a PLT GreenWorks! grant to fund a service-learning project for your students

Click here to access the new national PLT marketplace, where you can register for online workshops, preview EE resources, and purchase PLT materials!

Colorado Educators: If you’d like to receive 0.5 professional development credit and other benefits,* it is necessary to complete an additional 3 hour face-to- face or virtual synchronous experience with other educators, facilitators, and/or natural resource professionals in your backyard, school yard, or nearby open space. This will include participation in additional PLT activities, with more Colorado resources, materials, field trips, service projects, webinars and/or conference calls. For more information or to sign up for this, email the PLT program ( to register your interest.  We’ll contact you to arrange a convenient time to meet when we have several other educators also ready to participate.  The other participants might be in your neighborhood or across the state, experiencing and sharing with you different ecosystems, weather conditions, and habitats!  All will have recently completed the online PLT workshop.

*Additional benefits for completing the Colorado Follow up workshop include:

  • Eligibility to apply for Colorado’s Free Trees for PLT Teachers program.
  • Additional support materials, discounted PLT workshops, “fabulous” prizes!

Five Colorado Schools win PLT GreenSchools Grants

Congratulations!!!  Five Colorado Schools and Youth Programs with $1000 GreenWorks Grants in 2014! 

 Sustainable Revolution Longmont’s objective is to create a youth-led, youth-focused, activity-centered Earth Day event on April 22, 2015. It is our belief that the energy, enthusiasm and ideas of the younger generation are critical in the success of a sustainability movement. The 1st Annual Boulder County Youth Earth Day’s mission is to provide a fun, engaging youth-centered event with an opportunity for participants to host booths for demonstration and information, and space for art and music. We will offer a forum to support passionate youth environmental leaders by providing them a way to teach and inspire the entire community. In addition, our event will serve to develop a network of organizations, individuals, and groups who share a common goal of establishing and building a more sustainable approach to living in Boulder County. Students are welcome to show their projects and Green Efforts at this event. Contact Joan Gregerson <> to reserve a free booth.

Bluff Lake Nature Center is a 123-acre wildlife refuge and environmental education center in Denver. Two blocks away, in our watershed, is Isabella Bird Community School (IBCS), a new school with students from neighborhoods with mixed demographic and income profiles. Our project will involve water quality monitoring by students and an adult-facilitated analysis of several options for site restoration work that would improve water quality in Sand Creek, which flows through BLNC. Students from IBCS already visit BLNC to learn environmental science; this project will build on that analysis by actually implementing a restoration project based on monitoring results analysis.

Durango High School has an outdoor greenhouse that is currently unusable. We would like to convert this greenhouse to solar thermal, thus making it useable year round. We will use it in agriculture classes for research, and would like to grow food for our in-house Farm-to-School program. With the solar thermal system, we should be able to raise greens, and vegetables to supply our cafeteria year round.

ReTree Steamboat’s goal is to plant site-specific native species that will help increase the diversity, structure, health and resilience of Routt County’s forests. We also strive to connect the entire community, especially youth, to their local forests. Through the service learning component of the event, we will engage 200 school-age children to plant, water and monitor the newly-planted trees—not only increasing the survival rate of the seedlings but also deepening the understanding, enjoyment, and commitment of youth to the forests that surround them in the Yampa Valley.

Ralston Elementary School- An area with ponderosa pines next to the school has been under-utilized and is in need of beautification. Teachers occasionally bring students out to sit on the sandy ground for classes, and students often run around the area or climb on its rocks while waiting to be picked up. We would like to enhance the site by adding benches for an outdoor classroom in one section, and adding “natural” play structures in another section – made of beetle-kill pine wood. We also plan to plant wildflowers around the perimeter, and to hang bird feeders to improve the habitat for birds.

CSFS announces new public Grants database

The Colorado State Forest Service recently developed a searchable Natural Resources Grants & Assistance Database to help with the search for project funding and other assistance.

Programs listed in the database are sponsored by federal, state and private organizations that promote the health and welfare of our natural resources/forests.

PLT Tree Activities for Poster Contest – Downloads Available!

5th grade students may enter the 4th Colorado Tree Coalition’s poster contest and win prizes! Posters must be submitted by April 4, 2014. For information about the contest, click here. Project Learning Tree has allowed us to post two activities that teachers may use to help students gain knowledge and inspiration for the poster. You may download Three Cheers for Trees and A Forest of Many Uses by clicking on the titles. To receive the entire PLT PreK-8th grade activity guidebook, you must attend a workshop. Find upcoming workshops around the state (if any) above-in “Workshops”.  We will conduct a workshop at your site and at your convenience for at least 10 educators.

International Recognition for PLT’s Early Childhood Program

By Vanessa Bullwinkle
Project Learning Tree’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood curriculum has been selected as one of 100 leading sustainable solutions by Sustainia, an international institute that identifies the most innovative and impactful projects from around the world that are at the forefront of a faster transformation to a sustainable future. The solutions are selected for their environmental, social, and economic approaches towards sustainability, and for their potential to scale up across markets and societies.
Sustainia has acknowledged PLT’s Early Childhood program for engaging young children in outdoor exploration and play  a solution that helps future generations understand and value the environment while adopting a more active lifestyle. PLT connects children to nature, develops critical-thinking, and encourages students to take action to improve their environment. PLT’s Early Childhood materials are available to educators through hundreds of low-cost, high-value professional development workshops held every year across the United States and internationally, most notably in Mexico and Japan where the materials have been translated into Spanish and Japanese respectively.
Each year, Sustainia’s research team and an independent advisory board identify innovative, sustainable solutions across ten key sectors, spanning energy and transportation to fashion, food, health and education. This year they vetted over 1,000, selecting the top 100 that are being successfully deployed in 128 countries. These 100 solutions are published in the SUSTAINIA100 guide.
PLT's Early Childhood curriculum guide and CDPLT’s Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood was recognized at the SUSTAINIA100 launch event in London yesterday. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Former Governor of California and Honorary Chair of Sustainia, had the following to say about the group selected this year, “Congratulations to the SUSTAINIA100 for 2013. They are the true action heroes of sustainability. From Canada to Kenya to Guatemala to India, these solutions are proving that we can build communities that are both environmentally and economically sustainable today and for generations to come.”
On November 7, 2013 at a ceremony in Copenhagen, one solution from the list of 100 will be selected to receive the prestigious SUSTAINIA Award, an annual international award that honors outstanding performance within sustainability. Governor Schwarzenegger heads the selection committee that also includes former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, EU Commissioner of Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, and Chair of the UN climate panel, IPCC, Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri. Ten finalists for the SUSTAINIA Award will also be presented to world business leaders and politicians during the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September.
We are honored to receive the SUSTAINIA100 distinction. This award acknowledges the hard work of thousands of people in PLT’s international network  from curriculum specialists and early childhood providers who helped develop the materials in 2010, to our network of state and international partners, and volunteer facilitators, who deliver the program worldwide. Congratulations! We should all be proud!
Learn more:
Credit for 2013 Sustainia100 graphic: Sren Malmose

Colorado School Named Green Ribbon School

In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Education announced that one Colorado school has earned the prestigious national Green Ribbon Award and one district has earned the District Sustainability Award.
Kinard Core Knowledge Middle School (Poudre School District) in Ft. Collins was among 64 schools honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, Douglas County School District was among 14 districts honored for the first-ever District Sustainability Award. You can read the entire press release here.