Excel as a High-Performing Agency

Teachers hone skills at training youth in the natural world

MICHIGAN – Hiawatha National Forest, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Michigan State University Extension hosted a Project Learning Tree and Project WILD Educator Workshop at the USDA Forest Service’s Clear Lake Education Center on May 14, 2018. This professional development event trained 24 educators to use the Project WILD and Project Learning Tree curricula. These award-winning national curriculum guides engage youth (from kindergarten to 12th grade) in the natural world using over 200 proven activities. The activities are designed to meet the learning requirements for academic disciplines ranging from science and environmental education to social studies, math, and language arts.

In the training sessions, participants took the role of the student to learn about decomposers by investigating fallen logs, played an active game to understand carrying capacity of deer herds, and acted as ecologists by making biotic and abiotic observations in the forest. Each participant also learned by teaching an activity from each of the guides. A high school teacher stated she plans to use her peer-learning activity, “Power of Print” from Project Learning Tree, in her language arts class this coming week.

The Forest Service extends a generous thank you to The Literacy Legacy Fund of Michigan for providing grant funds that reduced the participants’ registration fee by over 60%. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore provided further funding support for the K-12 teachers in attendance. The educators from this workshop primarily work with underserved youth in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and will collectively engage well over 1,000 youth annually via the numerous hands-on lessons and activities found in these exceptional guides.

Educators get hands on training as part of the Project Learning Tree and Project WILD trainings at Clear Lake on May 14. Forest Service photo.

Educators participated in Project Learning Tree and Project WILD trainings at Clear Lake on May 14. Forest Service photo.