Forestry-based STEM Professional Development for Teachers in Washington State

Forestry Connections for K-12 Teachers
Why this project matters
Sustainable forest management and conservation are essential to preserving forests for the future. For students to make this connection, first their teachers need to understand the issues too. The Pacific Education Institute seeks to elevate and enrich the link between people and forests, by working directly with teachers who work with students. This project will deepen the integration of forestry education for existing and in-training K-12 teachers. As the leading organization in Washington providing field-based science, technology, education and math (STEM) professional development for teachers, the Pacific Education Institute is ideally positioned to encourage educators to explore the links between forestry and STEM-connected education.
Project outcomes will be shared with school districts, the SFI Washington State Implementation Committee (SIC), Project Learning Tree, and other partner organizations, including universities. In addition, SFI and PLT will highlight this project is an example of SIC-PLT collaboration opportunities, and ensure information is shared broadly with all SFI Implementation Committees and state PLT network members.
Why is SFI involved?
This project relates most closely to two of SFI’s specific focal areas: training and educating current and future practitioners who are engaged in actions affecting our forests; and supporting teachers in engaging and educating youth to encourage understanding, appreciation and hands-on interaction with the natural world.
The Pacific Education Institute will provide high-quality PLT training to student teachers at several Washington universities. Project Learning Tree, an SFI program, 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. The Pacific Education Institute will also work with Green Diamond Resources in Mason County, an SFI Program Participant, as well as all fifth‑grade teachers in the county to facilitate a PLT training and a tour of Green Diamond’s forests, which are certified to SFI. The project will include SFI certification practices and awareness in forestry tours.
How the project builds SFI community engagement
The Pacific Education Institute works closely with the Shelton School District where the focus for fifth grade is forests and where each year they use the institute’s Forest Benefits and Forest Management lessons. This project will broaden and deepen the understanding of how to use PLT in tandem with an SIC-member-hosted field experience. Once this project is complete, the Pacific Education Institute will work with the SFI Washington State Implementation Committee to identify other landowners who wish to do this work locally with their schools.
This partnership includes educators, conservationists, researchers, SFI Program Participants and forestry and natural resource professionals.
  • Project lead: Pacific Education Institute
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative
  • Green Diamond Resources Co. (SFI Program Participant)
  • Washington State SFI Implementation Committee
Related information
About the Pacific Education Institute
The Pacific Education Institute expands students’ opportunities to learn in outdoor settings throughout Washington State. Students apply math, science, the arts, and social studies skills to field investigations both out-of-doors and in their classrooms. The institute’s rigorous research-based approach assures that students are learning by doing.