The Maine TREE Foundation’s Long-Term Education About Forests (LEAF) program is designed to increase public understanding of, and appreciation for, Maine’s 17 million acres of forest.  LEAF encourages recognition of and respect for all forest values including wood production, recreation, wildlife, aesthetics, soil and water quality, and biodiversity of plant and animal species.  Through greater understanding and awareness, the public can help form and support responsible natural resource policies.

For over twenty years the LEAF program has demonstrated how a well-constructed and professionally implemented forest management plan can have a material impact on the public’s understanding of forest related issues.  Public and private funders alike have committed to ongoing support for this education effort because it reaches a broad and diverse audience and creates connections and understanding about Maine’s forests that otherwise would not be possible.

LEAF education and outreach programs include the acclaimed summer Maine Teachers’ Tours* (2019 TT Brochure); Maine Project Learning Tree; the Forest Inventory Growth (FIG) program; and a variety of Outdoor Classrooms.  Each of these programs reaches formal and non-formal educators, land trusts, natural resource professionals, loggers, wood manufacturers and communities throughout our state.  For more information, please click on any of the hyperlinks above.

*Forests of Maine Teachers’ Tours

One of the Maine TREE Foundation’s most popular programs, the Teachers’ Tours event is in its twenty-first year.  Each year, the acclaimed four-day tours focus on the growth, harvest and processing of wood and fiber, including renewable biomass energy, pulp & paper and traditional forest products such as 2 X 4’s, plywood and other construction materials. Teachers in grades K-12, Girl and Boy Scout leaders, adult educators, land trust staff and conservation commission members are among those who learn about Maine’s forest resource from professional foresters.  Following the Teachers’ Tours, participants are well prepared to return to the classroom with stimulating approaches to share this knowledge with students, colleagues and communities.

A Project Learning Tree Workshop is offered on the first day of each of the Teachers’ Tours.  Later in the tours, educators have the opportunity to tour wood products manufacturers, visit high-tech paper manufacturing or sawmilling operations or observe different  timber harvesting techniques.  They’ll also be able to visit active harvests that use modern felling equipment that places a lighter footprint on forest soils.  In-field discussions about the practice of sustainable forestry with landowners, foresters, loggers, mill owners and scientists stimulate interesting conversation.

The 2018 tours took place at the Poland Spring Resort on July 10 -13 and at Leen’s Lodge – Grand Lake Stream on July 24 – 27.  Resource professionals, including state and private foresters, loggers, land and mill owners, scientists, educators and community leaders provided an opportunity for in-depth discussions about forestry issues throughout the week.

Click here to read an article from a participant of the 2018 Teachers’ Tours!

Tour #1, July 10-13, 2018 Stop Descriptions

Tuesday, July 10

Poland Spring Resort, Poland.  PLT Workshop – The PLT K-12 curriculum workshop is designed to set the stage for our field visits with tree ID and how trees grow lessons, to an exploration of how forests provide a variety of ecosystem services.  The workshop is led by Maine PLT facilitators.

Wednesday, July 11

Chandler Tree Farm, New Gloucester.  At this stop Steve and Natalie Chandler will introduce us to this remarkable Tree Farm, a 2,500-acre tract of forestland within 20 miles of Portland that has been owned and managed by the Chandler family since 1762.  In 2017, the Chandlers donated this land to the Maine Woodland Owners.

Portland Water District, Standish.  The exceptional water quality of Sebago Lake, the drinking water supply for one in six Mainers, is directly related to forests in its watershed. Paul Hunt, Environmental Manager, will discuss how forest management and conservation efforts produce clean water, recreational opportunities, and healthy habitats. Sarah Plummer, Education Coordinator, and Carina Brown, Environmental Educator, will briefly review how PWD incorporates these messages into their education programs, and will provide demonstrations and lesson plans for activities featuring buffers and best management practices.

Forest Harvesting Operation in Casco.  Our host here is Paul Larrivee SAPPI Procurement Forester.  Here we will see an active harvest and be able to ask our host & his crew questions and learn all it takes to have a good harvest!

Evening Speaker.  Our evening speaker will be Si Balch, licensed forester from Brooklin.  Si will discuss Manomet’s Climate Smart Land Network program that helps forest managers adapt.  Topics covered will range from personal tick protection, moving tree species, forest monitoring, wildlife effects, timber harvesting, carbon sequestration and carbon marketing. More information is available at www.manomet.org

Thursday, July 12

Agnes Gray School Outdoor Classroom, West Paris.  At this stop we will enjoy an opportunity to visit one of Maine’s leading venues for outdoor education.  The Agnes Gray School has integrated forestry and environmental education while using the PLT curriculum.  Our host at this stop is Beth Clarke, Agnes Gray School Principal.

Loon Echo Land Trust, Bridgton.  Thom Perkins, Executive Director, will lead us at our lunch stop discussion of the Loon Echo Land Trust and how it works to conserve the lands, lakes and other natural resources of the northern Sebago Lake region that encompasses 7 towns.  What a view!

SAPPI, North America, Westbrook.  Enjoy this rare opportunity to tour the South African Pulp and Paper Company’s mill in Westbrook, the world’s leading producer of casting and release papers.  Micki Meggison, Director, Technical Service and Process Improvement, has organized the tour.

Here are some photos from Teachers’ Tour #1.


Tour #2, July 24-27, 2018 Stop Descriptions

Tuesday, July 24

Leen’s Lodge, Grand Lake Stream.  PLT Workshop – The PLT K-12 curriculum workshop is designed to set the stage for our field visits with tree ID and how trees grow lessons, to an exploration of how forests provide a variety of ecosystem services.  The workshop is led by Maine PLT facilitators.

Wednesday, July 25

Chandler’s Sugar Bush, Topsfield.  At this stop we will have an opportunity to explore the Chandler family’s maple sugaring operation, which has been a family run business since 2007. www.chandlerssugarshack.com

East Grand School, Danforth.  Our host at this stop is Dave Rocque, Maine State Soil Scientist.  Dave will use the East Grand School’s outdoor classroom to introduce our group to the importance of soils in understanding forest composition and overall ecosystem health.

Baskahegan Land Company, Brookton.  Our host here is Kyle Burdick, Baskahegan’s Woodlands Manager.  Kyle will introduce us to the company’s approach to land management.  We will have a chance to discuss silvicultural considerations and long-term forest management goals.

Evening Speaker.  Our evening speaker will be Don Sprangers, an outstanding science teacher from Washington Academy in East Machias.  Don will speak on a number of topics, possibly including: “Longitudinal Field Study of Washington Academy FIG Plot”, “Salmon are a Forest Species” and/ or “International Year of the Salmon (2019)”.  In addition to teaching science, Don is an avid fly fisher and has been very active in the conservation work of the Downeast Salmon Federation.

Thursday, July 26

Downeast Lakes Land Trust, Grand Lake Stream.  David Montague and Colin Brown will be our hosts for this visit.  Downeast Lakes Land Trust contributes to the long-term economic and environmental well being of the Downeast Lakes region through the conservation and exemplary management of its forests and waters.  We will also learn about Project SHARE (Salmon Habitat and River Enhancement) from Steve Koenig at this stop.

Passamoquoddy Forestry, Location TBD.  Ernest Carle will lead us through a discussion of the Passamoquoddy tribes to forest management on tribal lands.

Woodland Pulp, LLC, Baileyville.  Scott Beal will lead us in a fascinating tour of the Woodland Pulp Mill in Baileyville.  See and learn how wood fiber is converted to valuable products for domestic and export markets at this 100% energy self-sufficient mill.


Here are some photos from Teachers’ Tour #2.

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