The Maine Timber Research and Environmental Education Foundation (Maine TREE) is announcing a virtual professional development program to be offered over four weeks in early 2021. In partnership with the Vermont State Parks, Plymouth State University and the National Writing Project New Hampshire, the environmental place-based writing workshop will focus on the Project Learning Tree Exploring Environmental Issues module titled “Places We Live.”

“Despite limitations to offering professional development in-person, Maine TREE is excited to have assembled a team from across Northern New England to make this place-based learning opportunity available,” shared Jonathan LaBonte, executive director for Maine TREE. “Educators and students are connecting to the natural world in their communities, outside the four walls of the traditional school building, now more than ever, and this module will provide tools to support deepening that connection to place.”

Beginning Jan. 13 and running weekly from 7-8:30 p.m. through Feb. 3 the workshop, designed for both educators and writers, will honor and consider the first people to culturally interact with places we consider significant. This environmental justice theme is a strand that will run throughout the workshop.  The learning outcomes built into the course include describing how the writing process can connect one to the place where one lives, explaining how a cultural, ecological, historical and social identity contribute to one’s sense of place, identifying resources to help one become an active participant in shaping one’s environment for a quality experience, and illustrating how individual actions can help build community and attachment to place.

Each week, participants will be given a writing prompt, have time to write, and then an opportunity to share during each of the first three sessions. Instructors and participants will provide feedback before a more polished draft is shared during the final session.  Instructors for the course are Tom Mullin, Maine TREE Project Learning Tree associate, Dr. Mary Ann McGarry, associate professor of environmental studies at Plymouth State University and Rebecca Roy, Vermont Project Learning Tree coordinator at Vermont State Parks.

All participants will receive a printed copy of the module as part of the $40 program cost.  Registration deadline is Jan. 4 2021.  Certificates for the six-hour workshop will be provided upon request. CEU forms are available as well as the potential to earn one graduate credit. If interested in the graduate credit, Dr. McGarry can be reached at for specifics.  

Those interested can register at or can contact us with questions at or 207-621-9872.

Founded in 1989, Maine TREE’s mission is to educate and advocate for the sustainable use of the forest and the ecological, economic and social health of Maine’s forest community.