United States Forest Service –
National Inquirer Program
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is a multi-faceted agency that manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 43 states and Puerto Rico. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
USFS augments its work through partnerships with public and private agencies that help plant trees, improve trails, educate the public and improve conditions in wildland/urban interfaces and rural areas. The goals of USFS’ conservation education its products are to educate students on natural resources.
The USFS website offers a variety of educational programs and materials at the local level. The Natural Inquirer program produces a variety of science education materials for Pre-K-12. These materials are written for various age groups using USFS science on many topics.
For Pre-K through 2nd Grade Students:
You can request or download for free USFS’ seven Natural Inquirer Reader series here. Lesson plans are also available online for the Readers.
For Upper Elementary School Students
Download, view or order free copies here of the Investi-gator science journal written for upper elementary level students. Currently, three editions of Investi-gator are available.
For Middle School & High School
Click here to get the Natural Inquirer science education journal written for middle through high school age students. All articles are correlated to National Education Standards.
For information about the Forest Service and Natural Inquirer program please visit:
Project Learning Tree (PLT)
What is Project Learning Tree?
Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. PLT advances environmental literacy and promotes stewardship through excellence in environmental education, professional development, and curriculum resources that use trees and forests as windows on the world. PLT uses a multi-disciplinary approach to cover topics of environment resource management and technology and society and culture. Many of PLT’s curriculum resources are aligned with national academic standards, such as Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core.
The conservation and environmental education goals that teachers can achieve by accessing PLT’s curriculum and professional development include:
- Development of students’ awareness, skills, and commitment to address environmental issues.
- Application of scientific processes and higher order thinking to resolve environmental problems.
- Practice appreciation and tolerance of diverse viewpoints.
- Encourage creativity, originality, and flexibility.
- Empower students to become responsible and participatory members of society.
Additionally, PLT’s complimentary educator trainings support the integration of PLT activities into your own programming and location. Participating educators are welcomed into a diverse and supportive professional network and become eligible for community improvement grants.
What kind of resources can you access through the PLT network?
Project Learning Tree covers topics such as forests, wildlife, water, air, energy, waste, climate change, invasive species, community planning and more. PLT offers materials for early childhood, elementary and middle school and secondary educators. To compliment the curriculum, PLT provides professional development training both in-person and online. Educators can learn more about PLT opportunities and offerings in their area by contacting their State Coordinator.
Project Learning Tree provides select conservation education resources for free on its website:
- Teaching with i-Tree helps middle and high school students discover and analyze the many ecosystem services that trees provide and the importance of land management.
- GreenSchools Investigations inspire students to take responsibility for improving the environment in their school, home, and their community with 5 topical, hands-on investigations: Energy, Environmental Quality, School Site, Waste & Recycling, and Water.
- Family Activities connect children to the outdoors outside the classroom with easy-to-do activities perfect for families and communities engaging children in their own neighborhood and local parks.
- Environmental Education Resources enhance PLT lessons, make connections to current events, and recommend additional environmental education programs.