NASHVILLE – Marsha Parsons, 5th grade teacher at Whiteville Elementary, was one of two Tennesseans who joined 120 environmental educators from 46 states, Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico at Project Learning Tree’s International Conference in Traverse City, Mich. in May. Parsons was selected based on her work using the environment and hands-on teaching techniques to instruct students in math, language arts and science in a fun way.
Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. PLT is coordinated and managed by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry and the Tennessee Forestry Association in association with Tennessee Department of Education’s and Environment and Conservation’s CENTS program.
“At Whiteville, I take my students outdoors, where there is a grape vine hanging off a tree near a creek,” Parsons said. “My students use the scientific method in observations, asking questions, creating hypothesis, and drawing conclusions about the grapevine. Each time we go outside, the students monitor the grapevine progress and the production of grapes. We also use this time to describe the demographics of our neighborhood and community, along with finding small trees and completing a circumference of the tree. It’s an amazing process for me, as well as for them.”