Education and Events

Trees For Kids and Trees for Teens

Trees for Kids and Trees for Teens are educational programs that incorporate educational experiences with planting trees. A focus is placed on Iowa's elementary and secondary school students. We hope to educate students about the values of trees, and to encourage tree planting projects at schools or at other public areas in the state of Iowa.

This unique program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources - Bureau of Forestry, MidAmerican Energy, Black Hills Energy, Alliant Energy, Trees Forever, Iowa Tree Farm Committee, Iowa Woodland Owners Association, Iowa Bankers Association, and Iowa Landscape and Nursery Association.

This year the educational materials are provided in conjunction with Project Learning Tree (PLT). Every entity which is awarded a grant will be required to send an educator or team to a project learning tree training. 

Educators will be introduced to a variety of nationally-developed resources that support authentic learning (Project-based Learning Model, Field Investigations: Using Outdoor Environments to Foster Student Learning of Scientific Processes, Schoolyard Biodiversity Investigation Educator Guide, Fostering Outdoor Observation Skills, Landscape Investigation Guidelines, and Greenschools Investigations) as well the Projects WILD, WILD Aquatic and Learning Tree (PreK-8 guide, secondary modules. Training will include using a project-based learning model and field investigations to create relevant learning opportunities for students that support the Iowa Core. Trainers will work with educators to incorporate activities from the Projects into inquiry-based learning cycles and to develop real field investigations with their students. Educators will be encouraged to develop site based projects to study and/or improve their local natural resources. This can include service learning opportunities like Trees for Kids, IOWATER, NatureMapping, Wildlife Diversity monitoring efforts, development of outdoor learning areas or habitats, and more. Participants are encouraged to bring information about their school site or a nearby natural area for use with workshop activities. Teaching partners/groups are encouraged to facilitate planning/implementation of projects.

This training satisfies the requirements for the Trees For Kids Grant. For more information about the Trees For Kids Grant, please contact Laura Wagner at  laura.wagner@dnr.iowa.gov or 515-725-8456.

Trees for Kids and Trees for Teens offers grant funding to plant trees at your school every spring and fall. Schools are selected based on their grant application. Over 20 projects are funded a year. The current grant applications can be found here: Urban Forestry Grants.

For more information please contact the Iowa DNR Trees for Kids Coordinator at 515-725-8456.

Curriculum

Reading Rangers

Supplemental Material

Past Trees for Kids and Teens Curriculum
Trees for Kids 2009: Ecological Diversity
Trees for Teens 2009: Ecological Diversity
Trees for Kids 2008: Backyard Conservation
Trees for Teens 2008: Backyard Conservation
Trees for Kids 2007: Invasive Species Awareness
Trees for Teens 2007: Invasive Species Awareness
Trees for Kids 2006: The Native Trees of Iowa
Trees for Teens 2006: The Native Trees of Iowa
Trees for Kids 2005: The Values of Iowa's Trees and Forests
Trees for Teens 2005: The Values of Iowa's Trees and Forests

Project Learning Tree

PLT brochure

The Project Learning Tree Pre-K - 8th grade guide contains activities relating to trees, forestry, the interrelationships between organisms and their environment, and other ecological concepts. Over 10,000 Iowa educators and youth leaders have participated in PLT workshops. There is a $15.00 workshop fee charged to fund Project Learning Tree workshops in Iowa. Check out the national PLT website for more information or attend a workshop. PLT is correlated to the National Standards for Science and Social Studies.

Sample three PLT Activities
Charting Diversity
Field, Forest, and Stream
Web of Life

Suggested Activity Lists
Early Grades (K-4) Suggested Activity by Activity
Early Grades (K-4) Suggested Activity by Social Studies Standard
Early Grades (K-4) Suggested Activity by Science Standard
Middle Grades (5-8) Suggested Activity by Activity
Middle Grades (5-8) Suggested Activity by Science Standard
Middle Grades (5-8) Suggested Activity by Social Studies Standard
Secondary (9-12) Suggested Activity by Activity
Secondary (9-12) Suggested Activity by Social Studies Standard
Secondary (9-12) Suggested Activity by Science Standard

Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood
Developed with preschool educators and early childhood specialists, this guide is designed for educators who work with children ages 3 to 6.  It offers over 130 experiences that engage children in outdoor play and exploration. Topics include exploring nature with five senses, meeting neighborhood trees, and experiencing trees through the seasons.  An accompanying CD features music from children's musician Billy B. Brennan that encourages children to sing, dance, and move.

Activities include group experiences, such as music and movement, and neighborhood walks; learning centers, such as math and manipulatives and art; reading connections; and family and friends.

Activities have been correlated to national standards for early childhood education – NAEYC Criteria for Curriculum, Head Start Child Outcomes Framework and the NAAEE Early Childhood Environmental Education Guidelines for Excellence. Additional correlations have been drafted to Iowa Early Childhood program and curriculum standards – Quality Preschool Program Standards, Iowa Early Learning Standards, and the Iowa Core Curriculum.

Contact the PLT coordinator for workshop dates and more information: Laura Wagner 515-725-8456 or laura.wagner@dnr.iowa.gov

PLT Secondary Modules
PLT's secondary environmental education modules meet common components of national education reform by using the constructivist approach to learning, whole language teaching, cooperative learning, problem solving, and authentic assessments. The modules are intended for grades 9-12 but can be adapted for other audiences such as entry-level college courses and adult community groups.

Available on-line:
Exploring Environmental Issues: Biodiversity
Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Risk - Biotechnology

Modules in print: 
Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Forests
Exploring Environmental Issues: Municipal Solid Waste
Exploring Environmental Issues: Focus on Risk
Global Connections: Forests of the World
Exploring Environmental Issues: Places We Live

Exploring Iowa’s Natural Resources blog
Learn fun ways to incorporate natural resources into your classroom. A different environmental topic is featured each week.

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