PLT logo

South Carolina Forestry Commission

Project Learning Tree

What is PLT?
PLT Workshop Information
PLT Educator of the Year

Project Learning Tree


Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning international environmental education program designed for teachers and informal educators who work with students from early childhood through high school.

PLTPLT uses the forest as a "window" into the natural world, helping young people gain an awareness and knowledge of the environment and their place within it.

PLTPLT teaches students "how to think, not what to think" about complex environmental issues.

PLTPLT activities supplement existing curricula.

PLTPLT activities are action-oriented.

PLTPLT activities easily adapt to many settings: classroom, outdoors, the home, city, forest etc.

PLTPLT activities are correlated to national and state academic standards, as well as Girl Scout and Boy Scout standards.

PLTPLT is multi-disciplinary—it is not just science!

PLTPLT materials are designed for teachers by teachers, and do not require expensive kits or equipment.

PLT Works!Michele Powell (kneeling) with students


The North American Association for Environmental Education evaluated 240 teachers and 5,000 students in the U.S. and Canada who used PLT over a period of 12 months and found that short term exposure to PLT produces positive, long term effects when it comes to improving environmental knowledge and attitudes. Researchers further concluded that PLT increases knowledge in surprisingly little time. In fact, the average knowledge growth for students in grades 2-8 who were exposed to PLT for two to three weeks was no less than the equivalent of seven months. * Further national research has concluded that using the environment as a multidisciplinary medium increases student achievement, involvement, and lowers discipline problems (*Closing the Achievement Gap—Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for Learning”, 1998).


Visit the National PLT website for more about PLT!




SC PLTWorkshops

Project Learning Tree offers 9 activity guides: 1 for early childhood, 1 for preK-8th, and 7 secondary modules. Learn more about the activity guides. How can you obtain one of these great resources? Attend a PLT professional development workshop!


Teachers Learn

Workshops offered:


PLTEarly Childhood Workshop: for those who teach ages 3-6; minimum of 2 hours
PLTPreK-8 workshops: 6 hour workshop
PLTSecondary workshops: for high school teachers, minimum of 2 hours; choose from 7 secondary activity guides


In South Carolina, there is a $20 per participant workshop fee. The fee is waived for pre-service students who take the workshop as a part of their course curriculum. A minimum of 12 participants is desired for any workshop.

Want to attend a workshop?

Find out about PLT workshops in SC here.

How can I arrange a workshop for my staff?

            Stephanie Kolok - SC PLT Coordinator
            PO Box 21707
            Columbia, SC 29221
            Phone (803) 896-8855
            FAX (803) 896-8896

Since 1981, over 20,000 educators have participated in SC PLT workshops!


Join the list of volunteer professionals who conduct workshops throughout the state. If you have participated in a PLT educator’s workshop, you may want to become a SC PLT trained facilitator.
Facilitator training is a two-day leadership workshop where participants learn how to conduct workshops. Once trained, facilitators can organize and conduct workshops throughout the state. All materials and help will be provided. Volunteers can be reimbursed for mileage and substitute’s pay if the facilitator is an educator. Contact the State PLT Coordinator for more information.




Jerry L. Shrum Outstanding Educator of the Year Award


Each year South Carolina Project Learning Tree (PLT) recognizes one PLT trained teacher for exemplary or outstanding PLT projects or use of PLT in the classroom. Nominations may be from schools or self-nominations are accepted.
The award winner is presented a plaque recognizing their contribution to environmental education and an all expense paid trip to the S.C. Forestry Association’s Annual Conference. Winners are also offered admission to the S.C. Teachers’Tour - an all expense paid four-day summer tour of the forests and forest industry in South Carolina, a two-year position on the state Steering Committee, as well as possible nomination for the National PLT Outstanding Educator’s Award.

Benefits for the
S.C. PLT Educator of the Year

Recognize one of your teachers for their Excellence In Environmental Education
Award Nominations (pdf file)

2015 Outstanding Educator: Dr. David ShelleyDr. David Shelley

The 2015 S.C. PLT Jerry L. Shrum Outstanding Educator of the Year Award winner is Dr. David Shelley of Irmo. He is the Education Coordinator at the Old-Growth Bottomland Forest Research and Education Center at Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC.  Dr. Shelley’s responsibilities at the Center involve working with a diverse array of   audiences on topics related to forest ecology, old-growth forests, global change, and floodplain system science. 

Dr. Shelley is a passionate communicator of environmental topics. His extensive knowledge of our natural world, his interest in current scientific research, and his dynamic speaking make for a very engaging presenter. His many talents extend beyond simply talking, however, to include composing environmental science themed songs and writing “CongaReeSearch” summaries on the latest scientific research pertaining to Congaree National Park.

Dr. Shelley has worked diligently over the years to create partnerships and collaborations with other educators in the midlands. He has partnered with Project Learning Tree on numerous occasions to host PLT workshops at Congaree National park, and to be an expert speaker or to offer field trip experiences at Congaree NP for advanced PLT workshops. Dr. Shelley is known for his work coordinating the Linking Ecology and Art of Floodplains (LEAF) programs in partnership with the Columbia Museum of Art. These standards-based art and science programs engage third graders in multiple activities centered on soil. From 2007 to 2015 the LEAF partnership has presented 788 onsite programs over 736 hours of programming. Dr. Shelley also frequently coordinates professional development opportunities for both formal and informal educators. He sees value in helping other informal educators grow professionally and as a community, so he has organized and hosted free workshops on educational psychology (Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bloom), science and engineering practices, SC K-12 standards, and strategies for specific topics such as wildfires and climate change.

Congratulations, David, and thank you for your efforts on behalf of PLT and environmental education here in South Carolina!







PLT’s National Homepage

Some links on this page require Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don’t have Acrobat Reader you can get it free from Adobe Systems Inc. Get Acrobat Reader Adobe(R) Acrobat(R) Copyright © 2016 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.


Environmental Education / Reference Resources / Harbison Education Programs