Green Schools Conference and Expo

Make plans now to join fellow green schools advocates in St. Paul, Minnesota April 8 – 9, 2019 for the ninth annual Green Schools Conference & Expo (GSCE)! GSCE is the only national event to bring together all the players involved in making green schools a reality: people who lead, operate, build, and teach in U.S. schools. Enjoy two days of programming with inspiring keynote speakers, informative workshops and breakout sessions, and the chance to network with colleagues from across the country. In 2019, GSCE will be hosted in partnership with IMPACT, a regional sustainability conference.

Learn more about this year’s program schedule, registration packages, and hotel/travel information.

American Forest Kindergarten Association 2019 Conference

The 2nd Annual American Forest Kindergarten Association Conference will be held August 9 – 11, 2019 at Nature Nuts Forest School in Maple Valley, Washington. Learn valuable “tools of the trade” for best practices, business strategies, research, and advocacy from experts in the field, like keynote speaker Niki Buchan. Share successes and take advantage of networking opportunities with community gatherings throughout the conference. See examples of a program in action through observation of Nature Nuts, the first Cedarsong-accredited school.

American Meteorological Society’s Project Atmosphere Workshop

July 28 – August 3, 2019

Project Atmosphere is a hybrid (online & in-person) teacher professional development workshop offered by the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Education Program. Teacher-participants will be required to engage in online learning modules prior to the on-site portion of the workshop (taking place at the U.S. National Weather Service Training Center in Kansas City, Missouri). At the conclusion of the on-site portion, teacher-participants will be asked to complete work in the course management system in collaboration with California University of Pennsylvania. This project is specifically designed for K-12 teachers who teach science courses with atmospheric content and is intended to:

  • Introduce teachers to the latest technologies and techniques for sensing, analyzing, and forecasting weather.
  • Explore and suggest ways in which the products of these technologies and techniques can be employed in school studies of the atmospheric environment.
  • Prepare workshop attendees to conduct training sessions on selected atmospheric science topics for teachers in their home regions during the next school year.
  • Encourage participation in AMS DataStreme Atmosphere Local Implementation Teams.

Applications to participate in this workshop must be submitted by April 1, 2019. If accepted, participants are required to pay a $150 academic fee. Academic credit is available.

Children and Nature Network 2019 International Conference

Join the Children and Nature Network for the largest gathering of children and nature advocates in the world, May 16-18, 2019 in Oakland, California. From inspiring keynotes to hands-on workshops, this biennial conference will inspire and equip you with best practices for increasing equitable access to nature for the children, families, and communities you serve.

North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference – Save the Date

The 48th North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) annual conference will be held in Lexington, Kentucky from October 15 – 19, 2019.

For more than four decades, NAAEE has convened one of the leading annual conferences for environmental education professionals, designed to promote innovation, networking, learning, and dissemination of best practices. The annual Research Symposium, held in advance of the conference, attracts new and established researchers to examine in-progress environmental education research and promote dialogue between researchers and practitioners.

Present at NAAEE this year! The Call for Presentations is open until March 31, 2019.

Safe Routes to School National Conference – Save the Date

The 2019 Safe Routes to School National Conference will be held at the Hilton Tampa Downtown from November 12-14, 2019. Save the date for this opportunity to join hundreds of active transportation and public health advocates and practitioners from across the country for valuable networking, sharing best practices, and exploring one of Florida’s most vibrant and active cities.

Wade Institute for Science Education – Summer Professional Development Institutes for K-12 Teachers

Join the Wade Institute for Science Education for one of four regional inquiry-based hands-on, minds-on, STEM-focused professional development institutes held across Massachusetts. Spend a week with fellow teachers on-site at multiple partner organizations and experience field and classroom investigations to take back to your classroom. The theme for 2019’s institutes is Engaging Your Students in Science and Engineering Practices.

Institutes will be held July 8 – 12 and July 15 -19, 2019. Cost is $425 per participant ($400 per participant if attending in a team of two teachers from the same district; $375 per participant if attending in a team of three or more teachers from the same district). Register and submit payment before April 15, 2019 to receive an additional $25 off of registration.

The deadline to register is June 1, 2019.

Professional Development and GSNN PD Partner Resources

Be a Catalyst for Change…Become a Green Schools National Network Member

The green schools movement is the most critical education reform initiative of our time. Through the Green Schools National Network (GSNN) membership program, you can show your support and become a catalyst for change for green schools everywhere.

GSNN’s membership program is designed for leaders (like you!) who use sustainability to drive innovation in their classrooms, schools, or school districts. As a GSNN member, you will learn from and be inspired by the people who are transforming schools across the country.

Choose from five different levels of membership: Individual, Nonprofit, preK-12 School, School District, or Corporate. Each level comes with its own set of benefits and discounts, some of which include: a subscription to Green Teacher Magazine, discounted Green Schools Conference and Expo registration, discounted and free professional development opportunities, networking opportunities, and discounted fees for GSNN school and district coaching.

Visit GSNN’s membership website to learn more and sign up.

Biomimicry Institute

The Biomimicry Institute is the world’s leading nonprofit dedicated to innovation inspired by nature. Biomimicry offers an exciting project-based approach that helps teachers blend STEM and environmental education in creative, hands-on lessons students love. The Biomimicry Institute helps educators and organizations bring biomimicry into their teaching by providing curriculum and training, networking opportunities, and content development support. Learn more about our services and visit the online library, AskNature, for the resources and information you need to bring biomimicry into your teaching practice.

Captain Planet Foundation

Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) supports educators with grants, resources, tools, and models to spark children’s curiosity, cultivate a love of nature, and engage students in science and engineering practices to solve real-world problems. Our programs and materials have co-evolved with education priorities over the years to ensure educators have the tools and strategies to meet their needs in and out of the classroom.

Upcoming Programming

Thursday, April 11, 2019

From Science Ambassadors to 3D Science in the Schoolyard: Georgia Model for Professional Learning

National Science Teachers Association Conference

St. Louis, Missouri

5:00pm – 6:00pm

No cost other than conference registration 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

GREAT Projects – a Scaffolded Approach to Phenomenon-, Problem-, and Project-Based Learning

National Science Teachers Association Conference

St. Louis, Missouri

8:00am – 4:00pm at Embassy Suites and Arch National Park (short course #9)

$38 plus conference registration – includes lunch

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Nature of Science, STEM, and Stewardship: Strategies for Transformative Teaching

Children & Nature Network International Conference

Oakland, California

10:00am – 4:00pm at Temescal Regional Rec Area Beach House

No cost other than conference registration – includes lunch and bus

June 7, 2019

Schoolyard Science: How Volunteers Can Help Make Learning More Relevant, Authentic, and Engaging

Georgia PTA Convention Leadership Training Conference

Atlanta, Georgia

Times to be determined

No cost other than conference registration

June 8, 2019

Farm 2 STEAM: Transforming School Gardens into STEAM Labs

Georgia Farm to School and Early Care and Education Summit

Macon, Georgia

Times to be determined

No cost other than conference registration

CELF Summer Institute: Education for Sustainability

The Annual CELF Summer Institute in Education for Sustainability is an intensive multi-day workshop that enables teachers to integrate the concepts of sustainability into their existing curricula. The Institute equips K-12 teachers with practices and teaching methods to address the core concepts of education for sustainability – the intersection of social, economic, and ecological systems – and how the balance of those three systems is vital to a sustainable future, and relevant to all subject areas.

The Institute begins by building a learning community and a common vocabulary around sustainability, and progresses with hands-on activities, case studies, special guest presentations, and field work. The schedule includes supported planning time so that participants will have tangible materials to bring back to their classrooms.

2019 Summer Institute locations include: Westchester County, New York; New York City; and Los Angeles, California.

Center for Green Schools School Board Advocacy Toolkit

The School Board Advocacy Toolkit from the Center for Green Schools is a free resource that helps green schools allies address sustainability issues and impact greener policies at the school district level. It is designed to make local green schools advocacy approachable and actionable. The toolkit contains talking points, template letters and presentations, sample policy language, and more for you to use to promote greener policy options related to any school sustainability issue.

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education

The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education works with schools and school districts to help them integrate Education for Sustainability (EfS) into their curriculum. Core services include consulting and leadership development (on-site and off-site); professional development and faculty coaching; curriculum design, assessment, mapping, and alignment; and school and community partnerships. The Cloud Institute holds an annual Summer Design Studio that enables educators, administrators, and program designers to learn how to design and embed EfS into curriculum, assessments, and programs.

Upcoming Programming

2019 Goethe Institut Sustainability Summit

May 24 – 26, 2019

Chicago, Illinois

At this three-day Sustainability Summit in Chicago, you will learn from experts about systems, anticipatory, and creative thinking, the commons; the importance of diversity and multiple perspectives; and links with STEM. Jaimie Cloud will keynote. Learn more and register.

Summer Curriculum Design Studio: Educating for a Sustainable Future

August 5 – 9, 2019

Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York

Join the Cloud Institute for a five-day curriculum design studio where educators, administrators, and program designers will learn how to design and embed Education for Sustainability into curricula, assessments, and performance tasks without the need for additional class time!

Held at the beautiful Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, you will get access to expertise, resources, and tools to reorient and enrich curricula. Through working sessions, learning circles, coaching, peer review, and optional mini-sessions, you will create and develop units and protocols that educate for sustainability.

Come yourself or bring a team! Space is limited. Register today.

Community Works Institute

Community Works Institute (CWI) supports and promotes exemplary teaching strategies and practices for K-16 educators and community programs that support students in becoming caring, responsible, and active members of their communities. CWI offers a variety of professional development opportunities for K-16 and community-based educators in the United States and internationally, including on-site training, retreats, coaching, and consulting. Their signature offering is a series of summer institutes that integrate field-tested service-learning best practices and principles of sustainability to engage K-16 students in academically based service that contributes to sustainable communities.

Upcoming Programming

2019 Bay Area Symposium on Place Based Service-Learning

May 17 – 18, 2019 • Los Gatos, California

Collaborate with like-minded colleagues who value compelling, student-centered projects that open doors to new REAL learning and relationships. Experience inspired learning and collaboration as we build a K-16 community of practice. Topics included: Student Voice; Social and Emotional Learning; Reciprocity; Social Justice; Global Citizenship; Sustainable Communities; Design Based Thinking; and Collaborative Ethnography as a Tool. Space is limited, register soon.

Learn more about this exciting opportunity.

2019 Summer EAST Institute on Place Based Service-Learning and Sustainability

June 24 – 28, 2019 • Brooklyn, New York

The longest running Service-Learning training for educators in the world, Summer EAST is a powerful learning lab for educators, set in the heart of the uniquely diverse social fabric that is Brooklyn. Experience a week of inspiration, expert training, and powerful collaborations with an exceptional group of colleagues. Join like-minded K-16 and community educators from across the U.S. and beyond for a week to remember.

2019 Summer WEST Institute on Place Based Service-Learning and Sustainability

July 22 – 26, 2019 • Los Angeles, California

Bring your vision, program, and project ideas to CWI’s acclaimed learning and design lab. Summer WEST is set in Los Angeles, one of the world’s most vibrant, culturally rich urban settings. Join us for a transformative week of project and program design, expert training and guidance, field work, and inspired networking.

Learn more about these opportunities and register online.

**CWI encourages schools to send cohort teams (minimum of four, max of eight per school) and is offering special rates to support this. School Cohorts will focus on their own practice while moving their school forward and learning deeper approaches to accomplish this, including a process for examining and advancing their practice. Cohort teams will continue working together when they return to school (not typical w/ teams).**


EcoRise’s school-based program empowers youth to tackle real-world challenges in their schools and communities by teaching sustainability, design innovation, and social entrepreneurship. Our curriculum, classroom grants, ongoing training, and support engages educators and students in meaningful learning experiences. Our program empowers teachers to confidently champion sustainability and innovation in their classrooms, while students cultivate 21st century skills and sustainable living practices.

We offer:

  • Online and in-person professional development, curriculum, and self-paced resources for green industry connections to K–12 educators, STEM educators, and Project-Based Learning teachers.
  • For U.S.-based schools, we award micro grants to student-designed sustainability projects.
  • Our committed partnership with like-minded institutions and corporate supporters to expand reach and impact.

Visit to learn more.

Facing the Future 

Facing the Future is an international program, based out of Western Washington University, creating tools for educators that equip and motivate students to develop critical thinking skills, build global awareness, and engage in positive solutions for a sustainable future. The curriculum is organized around eight sustainability big ideas:

  • Connecting with Nature
  • Equity and Justice
  • Health and Resiliency
  • Interconnectedness
  • Local to Global
  • Peace and Collaboration
  • Respect for Limits
  • Universal Responsibility

Facing the Future curriculum materials and resources are available for K-12 teachers, teachers in colleges of education, and for some community college and undergraduate classes. All materials are developed for teachers, by teachers, with best teaching and learning practices in mind and are aligned with Common Core Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and most state standards frameworks.

Green Strides Webinar Series Calendar

The Green Strides Webinar Series provides school communities with the tools they need to reduce their schools’ environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental education. It provides all schools access to the resources that help them move toward the Pillars of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award. Sign up for Green Strides Webinar Series email updates to receive information on future webinars.

Green Teacher Webinar Series

Secrets to Snagging Great Science Partners

Date: April 10, 2019; 7:30 – 8:30pm EST

Presenter: Megan Edgar

In this webinar, Megan will help you understand how to cultivate and grow relationships with community members who can enrich classroom learning experiences. She will help you determine what type of partnership is right for your students, how to grow partnerships into long-term research projects, and how to tie field experiences to required curriculum. This webinar will help you learn how to take your students into the real world of science and conservation where they can practice science process skills in an authentic setting and meet inspiring people from their home community.

Learning Lab

A product of the U.S. Green Building Council’s The Center for Green Schools, Learning Lab provides K-12 teachers and school leaders with comprehensive, project- and STEM-based curriculum that encourages student leadership, environmental literacy, and real-world action.

Discover best-in-class content, training, and tools. Access their curated catalogue of lesson plans, interactive projects, assessment opportunities, and other multimedia resources in English and Spanish. Lessons are mapped to meet current educational standards and were created by educators, for educators.

New Buildings Institute Webinar: Understanding the Feasibility of Getting to Zero in School Retrofits

Thursday, April 25, 2019

3:00 – 4:00pm ET / 12:00 – 1:00pm PT

The majority of school buildings operating today can achieve zero energy performance, and schools looking to upgrade campus buildings have resources they can use to achieve low-energy goals. Join this one-hour webinar highlighting lessons learned from school retrofits that reduce energy consumption enough to allow the remainder to be served with renewable systems such as photovoltaic panels. Industry experts including Alexis Karolides of Point Energy Innovations will brief attendees on the innovative approaches that teams are taking during the assessment and planning process when retrofitting on the path to zero. This information will be presented as case studies and models for replication in your own design. The webinar will also address operational considerations that are crucial for ongoing successful performance.

Shelburne Farms 

Shelburne Farms is a nonprofit organization educating for a sustainable future. That means learning that links knowledge, inquiry, and action to help students build a healthy future for their communities and the planet. Its home campus is a 1,400-acre working farm, forest, and National Historic Landmark.

Shelburne Farms’ school programs staff support student learning and professional development for educators. The ideas of place and sustainability are at the heart of its work. Shelburne Farms offers a variety of experiences that inspire deep connections to community and a commitment to a healthy future.

Upcoming Programming

ABCs of Farm-Based Education

March 31 – April 2, 2019

Are you looking to build a farm-based education program, or inspire your existing programming? At this workshop, you’ll fill your toolbox with kid-tested, educator approved activities, as you join a community of peers from around the region. Spend three days in hands-on, discussion and activity-based learning and explore Shelburne Farms’ dairy, farmyard, garden, and forest classrooms. Experience activities from Shelburne Farms’ publications Project Seasons and Cultivating Joy and Wonder as we discuss ways to engage school groups and farm visitors. In addition to activity sharing and program development, we’ll discuss tips for creating a safe learning environment and will have ample time for getting to know one another and our respective farm-based education sites.

Learn more and register for this workshop.

Project Seasons for Young Learners: Cultivating Joy and Wonder

July 8 – 12, 2019

Are you looking for new ways to connect your program to the community outside of your classroom? Join us at the Farm for hands-on, interdisciplinary activities and explore ways in which these can be adapted to your own learning community. Connect with other early childhood professionals to share best practices over these four days in a picturesque setting, leaving you energized and inspired to create even more meaningful opportunities and experiences within your program.

Cost $575. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes accommodations and graduate credit. A limited number of partial scholarships are available. Learn more and register here.

Seasonal Educator Workshops

Shelburne Farms has taken some of your favorite school program topics and turned them into one-day, seasonal educator workshops! Join us on the Farm throughout the year for a series of programs designed to deepen your knowledge of a topic and enrich your curriculum. In fall, winter, and spring we will spend time outside connecting with the land, interacting with experts, and developing tools and techniques to take back to your students. Workshops can be taken individually or as a series.

Each workshop costs $30. Register here.

Milk & More

Saturday, May 4, 2019; 9:30am – 12:30pm

Explore a Vermont tradition and build awareness of the importance that dairy plays in the farming landscape. You’ll experience a variety of fun, hands-on activities relating to cows and visit our own Brown Swiss herd. We will delve into activities that explore the roles that farmers and dairy products play in our local food system and in keeping our communities healthy and thriving.

The Summer Institute on Education for Sustainability

July 22 – 26, 2019

Spend five rich days with colleagues from around the country at an informative and restorative institute created to give you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of education for sustainability. This week is part conference, part workshop, part retreat. The 2019 Summer Institute will use the lens of sustainability to focus on local, regional, and global food systems. Topics might include food systems education; culturally sustaining nutrition; ecological, economic, and cultural connections; cultivating food sovereignty; climate change and civic action; and sustainable food system learning journey.

Cost $600. Includes light breakfast and lunch; excludes travel and graduate credit. A limited number of on-site accommodations are available. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here

Education for Sustainability Immersion

August 15 – 16, 2019

For those who already have a strong foundation in Education for Sustainability, our two-day Immersion will provide you with the opportunity to reflect, learn, and collaborate with a small group of colleagues from across the country in a residential, retreat-like setting here at Shelburne Farms. The Immersion has a design studio feel with participants self-directing much of their work with a few inspirational speakers and workshops/explore times. Expect to take a deep dive into such topic areas as place-based education, social justice, systems thinking, or other topics in the field of Education for Sustainability that are important to you. This course is action-oriented with an expectation at the end that each participant has a solid project or curriculum to implement. Programming begins on the first day and continues into the evening, and then concludes mid-afternoon of the second day.

Cost $375. Includes meals, tax, and accommodations; excludes graduate credits. Limited to 16 participants. Scholarships may be available on a need-based scale. Learn more and register here.

Susan Santone

Susan Santone is an internationally recognized educator with over 20 years of experience in curriculum reform, educational policy, and sustainability. Through Creative Change Educational Solutions, the nonprofit she founded, Susan has led teacher education and curriculum reform initiatives with clients ranging from K-12 districts to universities to the United Nations. Susan offers the following services:

  • Facilitator training that prepares school and university teams to lead professional development in their own settings. Training is based on the book Reframing the Curriculum.
  • Leadership development and strategic communication to advance understanding of sustainability and social justice.
  • Consultation for schools, universities, and other entities.

Learn more about these services and upcoming events.

Free Online Course

Introduction to Sustainability

Learning about sustainability is easier than ever thanks to “Introduction to Sustainability,” a free online course developed by Kappa Delta Pi in partnership with Creative Change Educational Solutions. The self-paced course introduces sustainability as a context for learning, highlights connections across grades and disciplines, and provides strategies for reframing curriculum to emphasize these connections. With activities, videos, discussions, off-line projects, and guided curriculum design, the course engages adult learners in an integrative and reflective learning experience that emphasizes practical applications. The course is based upon (and includes excerpts from) Susan Santone’s book, Reframing the Curriculum: Design for Social Justice and Sustainability

Teaching Our Cities Practice Toolkits

Teaching Our Cities, a project of Common Ground, is creating a collection of toolkits that share best practices that are working at partner schools. Toolkits include videos, blog-style reflections, resources, and practice descriptions. Current toolkits cover teaching a sense of place, learning expeditions, green exhibitions, environmental leadership portfolios, and magnet theme days.

Tributaries of Life: A Watershed Inquiry

This online course offered by Oregon State University is designed to help teachers increase their freshwater ecology knowledge and learn how to facilitate student-directed watershed inquiry that includes action projects. Participants will practice sensory-based activities outdoors and keep a journal to record their reflections. Participants will read, watch videos, and conduct fieldwork to learn essential watershed content. Using scientific protocols, participants will conduct research and use their findings to develop an action plan.

This course is for teachers of all academic disciplines in sixth- through twelfth-grades. Two sessions are available: March 4 – April 14, 2019 and May 6 – June 16, 2019. Course cost is $435, plus a $60 registration fee.

School Buildings and Grounds as 3D Textbooks Related Resources

American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Project 2061 Green Schools Energy Curriculum

What opportunities do school buildings themselves provide for helping students develop a scientific foundation for making choices about energy resources and their use? The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Project 2061 developed an outline for a Green Schools Energy Curriculum that utilizes real-time data on energy generation and consumption from green school buildings to teach middle school students the science of energy. The course is aligned to performance expectations from Next Generation Science Standards. It also draws from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Literacy: Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts for Energy Education to identify learning goals.

The Bee Cause Project

The Bee Cause Project provides youth with opportunities to understand, engage, and learn from honeybees to connect with the natural environment while developing STEAM skills. In addition to their grant program, the Bee Cause Project provides downloadable curriculum guides, lesson plans, and beekeeping information, as well as videos and webinars, that can be accessed on their website.

Carrot City: Creating Places for Urban Agriculture

From Carrot City is a collection of ideas, both conceptual and realized, that use design to enable sustainable food production, helping to reintroduce urban agriculture to our cities. Focusing on the need and desire to grow food within the city to supply food from local sources, the contributions of architecture, landscape design, and urban design are explored.

Forty projects demonstrate how the production of food can lead to visually striking and artistically interesting solutions that create community and provide inhabitants with immediate access to fresh, healthful ingredients. The authors show how city planning and architecture that considers food production as a fundamental requirement of design result in more community gardens, greenhouses tucked under raised highways, edible landscapes in front yards in place of resource-devouring lawns, living walls that bring greenery into dense city blocks, and productive green roofs on schools and large apartment blocks that can be tended and harvested by students and residents alike.

Cornell Garden-Based Learning

Cornell Garden-Based Learning provides educators with inspiring, research-based gardening resources and professional development to support engaging, empowering, and relevant learning experiences for youth, adults, and communities. Their site offers tools and resources for starting a gardening program as well as lessons, activities, and curricula to support garden-based learning.

Dirty Teaching: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors

From Juliet Robertson offers tips and tricks to help any teacher develop variety in their teaching. One of the keys to a happy and creative classroom is getting out of it, and this book will give you the confidence to do it. It contains a wealth of ideas that allow teachers and parents to encourage outdoor learning and improve student participation. All you need is your coat, a passion for learning– oh, and bring the kids too!

Got Dirt? Garden Toolkit

Got Dirt? Garden Toolkit was developed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Nutrition and Physical Activity program to provide simple, step-by-step plans for starting a school, community, or child care garden.

Green Education Foundation Green Building Program

The Green Education Foundation Green Building Program educates K-12 students on green building attributes and benefits and provides them with strategies to take steps toward improving environmental inefficiencies within their own school building. Through lessons, audits, and activities students will cover topics including water and energy efficiency and environmental quality as they relate to building construction, operation, and maintenance. 

Green Schoolyards: A Growing Movement Supporting Health, Education, and Connection with Nature

A report from Healthy Schools Campaign and Openlands, Green Schoolyards: A Growing Movement Supporting Health, Education, and Connection with Nature documents the journeys and lessons of green schoolyard programs across the country and is informed by a rich dialogue that has been taking place at the national and local levels about how to help children, families, schools, communities, and our environments thrive. The report shares information and stories, as well as tangible steps communities can take to develop their own green schoolyards.

Green Schoolyards America’s School Ground Activity Guide Set

Green Schoolyards America’s Living Schoolyard Activity Guide – United States Edition and International School Grounds Month Activity Guide contain 235 activities contributed by 187 schools, agencies, nonprofits, museums, universities, businesses, and utilities across the U.S. and 27 countries around the world. Both guides are available for free online and contains a wide range of ideas for use by PreK-12 schools before, during, and after school.

The GREEN (Garden Resources, Education, and Environment Nexus) Tool

This research brief describes the background study that led to the conception of the GREEN Tool and highlights how it can be used to strengthen school gardens. The purpose of the study was to examine which components make up a well-integrated garden in New York City schools and to determine how those components work together. This study resulted in the GREEN Tool, comprised of a Map illustrating how and when to operationalize the 19 components needed to establish, integrate, and sustain a school garden, and a Scorecard with questions on a three-point scale to assess progress on the 19 components. Used together, the Map and Scorecard can help school garden leaders develop and sustain a garden that is well integrated into their school. This brief focuses on the background study and the GREEN Tool Map and includes policy recommendations based on research findings.


KidsGardening has been a leader in the school gardening movement since 1982. The organization aims to inspire, support, and connect educators with resources that help them get students outdoors learning in school gardens and connecting to nature. Resources found on the website include webinars, lesson plans, gardening activities and guides, and how-to’s for designing and sustaining garden programs.

Life Lab

Life Lab is a national leader in the garden-based learning movement, with over 35 years of experience working with young people in gardens. Through workshops and consultations, Life Lab provides educators across the country with the inspiration and information necessary to engage young people in gardens and on farms. Their workshops and award-winning publications are go-to resources for educators and families. Life Lab’s Garden Classroom educational center in Santa Cruz, California and its Blooming Classroom garden in Watsonville, California promote experiential learning for people of all ages through field trips, children’s camps, and teacher workshops. Learn more about Life Lab’s educator resources, including curriculum and activity guides, professional development opportunities, and school garden resources.

Million Pollinator Garden Challenge

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other pollinators across America.  Schools can get in on the action too! Plant a pollinator garden or landscape and register your habitat so it can be counted.  The MPGC website contains a number of resources to help you get started, as well as curricula and lessons for the classroom.

National Garden Clubs

Garden clubs around the country partner with schools to help children plan and maintain school gardens. Various programs include the Pollinators Live program, which engages students and teachers in creating diverse school gardens that incorporate native plants to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other native pollinators. Learn more about National Garden Clubs’ programming for schools.

National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitats

The National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitats program was created in 1996 to meet the growing interest and distinct needs of schools and school districts in creating and restoring wildlife habitat on school grounds. The program focuses specifically on assisting school communities in the use of school grounds as learning sites for wildlife conservation and cross-curricular learning. This website contains information about the benefits of schoolyard habitats, how to start one of your own, and how to apply for certification as an official Schoolyard Habitat site.

The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Vegetable Garden or Farm

From If you’d like to grow your own food but don’t think you have the space, look up! In urban and suburban areas across the country, farms and gardens are growing atop the rooftops of residential and commercial buildings.

In this accessible guide, author Annie Novak’s passion shines as she draws on her experience as a pioneering sky-high farmer to teach best practices for raising vegetables, herbs, flowers, and trees. The book also includes interviews, expert essays, and farm and garden profiles from across the country, so you’ll find advice that works no matter where you live. Featuring the brass tacks on green roofs, container gardening, hydroponics, greenhouse growing, crop planning, pest management, harvesting tips, and more, The Rooftop Growing Guide will have you reimagining the possibilities of your own skyline.

Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning: Using the Outdoors as an Instructional Tool, K – 8

From Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning shows how the school grounds—regardless of whether your school is in an urban, suburban, or rural setting—can become an enriching extension of the classroom. In this comprehensive handbook, Herb Broda blends theory and practice, providing readers with practical suggestions and teacher-tested activities for using the most powerful audio-visual tool available—the outdoors.

Emphasizing the practical, this innovative book offers teachers step-by-step guidance to help ensure success when they take a class outside. It provides:

  • Background that helps present the case for outdoor learning: educational theory that supports the concept; overview of the terminology; research on the benefits related to student achievement; alignment of outdoor learning with current teaching practices.
  • Ideas for making the schoolyard an effective outdoor classroom: the planning process; enhancing and maintaining the site; developing gardens and attracting wildlife; finding community resources and funding.
  • Advice on working with a class outdoors: garnering administrative and parental support; considerations before going out; making the most of your outdoor time; using GPS as an educational tool; building on the outdoor experience back in the classroom.
  • An array of proven activities that utilize the schoolyard: activities related to specific subject areas; activities that teach process skills; activities that encourage initiative and build community.

At a time when children’s natural curiosity about the outdoors is eclipsed by the demands of busy schedules and the ever-present glow of video screens, schools may be the only place where they are encouraged to interact with nature. Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning can help teachers unlock the powerful learning experiences that exist just beyond the classroom door.

Slow Food USA Good, Clean, and Fair School Garden Curriculum

Slow Food USA is developing a three part Good, Clean, and Fair School Garden Curriculum. The “Good” Curriculum focuses on enjoying the pleasures of healthy and delicious food; the “Clean” Curriculum teaches gardening for sustainability; and the “Fair” Curriculum (still in development) covers producing food that respects economic and social justice. Together, they provide a full range of activities centered around the garden, including tasting activities, cooking with garden produce, sustainable gardening, studying food systems, and activities that promote access to affordable fresh food.

Solar One’s Green Design Lab

A program of Solar One, Green Design Lab is a K-12 education program that promotes experiential learning opportunities through science, technology, and design. Solar One’s programs increase environmental knowledge about energy, water, materials science, and food while fostering sustainable behaviors and stewardship. Using the school as a learning laboratory, Solar One’s K-12 programs introduce students to hands-on, real world experiences, support the development of creative thinking and problem-solving skills, and turn students into advocates for sustainability in their schools and communities.

The Green Design Lab program delivers professional development opportunities to teachers; offers a curriculum package centered on the school building as a learning laboratory; and provides resources including videos, worksheets, and a toolkit for educators.

Teaching in Nature’s Classroom: Core Principles of Garden-Based Education

In Teaching in Nature’s Classroom: Core Principles of Garden-Based Education, Nathan Larson shares a philosophy of teaching in the garden. Rooted in years of experience and supported by research, Larson presents fifteen guiding principles of garden-based education. These principles and best practices are illustrated through engaging stories from the field. The book features vivid paintings by mural artist Becky Redelings and connections to the research literature provided by Alex Wells and Sam Dennis of the University of Wisconsin Environmental Design Lab. 

Ten Minute Field Trips: A Teacher’s Guide to Using the Schoolgrounds for Environmental Studies

From Google Books: You don’t have to go far to get science out of the classroom. A National Science Teacher Association best-seller, this book is ideal for teachers in all school environments – urban, suburban, or rural. Renowned educator Helen Ross Russell describes more than 200 short, close-to-home field trips that explore new dimensions of familiar spaces and objects. Brick walls, rock outcrops, lawns, broken pavement, weeds, and trees are all targets for exploration.

USDA Team Nutrition School Garden Resources

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Team Nutrition has assembled a list of resources on school gardens, including general resources on planning, constructing, and maintaining a school garden as well as curricula and training.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Schoolyard Habitat Project Guide takes teachers and administrators through the process of creating schoolyard habitat and outdoor classroom projects. The guide covers everything from concept to completion: developing a plan, choosing a site, design and installation, maintenance, and how to incorporate the space into the curriculum. The guide is available in Spanish as well.

Grants and Awards

2019 – 2020 School Grants for Healthy Kids

Action for Healthy Kids has provided $8.7 million in grants to schools since 2009. Our School Grants for Healthy Kids can help your school health team achieve its goal to make every kid healthy and ready to learn. Applications are now being accepted until April 5, 2019 for the 2019 – 2020 school year. Two types of grants are available:

  • School Breakfast Grants. School breakfast is more than a meal: It helps fight hunger, improves student focus, and reduces absenteeism. Your school can introduce or expand a school breakfast program with grants for $1,000, $2,000, or $3,000. Whether it’s breakfast in the classroom, grab-and-go breakfast, or another breakfast program, help your students start their day right. 
  • Game on Grants. Game On grants provide funding and resources for schools to improve or introduce new nutrition and physical activity programs. With a $1,000 grant, you can build a school garden, get equipment for active recess, host taste tests and other nutrition promotion, start a before or after school activity club, and more.

ASM Materials Education Foundation K-12 Education Grants

The ASM Materials Education Foundation awards 20 grants of $500 annually to help K-12 teachers bring the real world of materials science into their classrooms. “Living in a Material World” grants recognize creativity and enhance awareness of materials science and the role that materials play in society. Teachers must describe a hands-on, curriculum-based K-12 project that involves student observation, teamwork, mathematics, and science skills that enhance student awareness of the everyday materials around them. The deadline for applications is May 25, 2019. 

Brower Youth Award for Environmental Leadership

Earth Island Institute established The Brower Youth Award for Environmental Leadership in 2000 to honor renowned environmental advocate David Brower and recognize the outstanding leadership efforts of young people who are working for the protection of our shared planet. Youth environmental change leaders ages 13 to 22 (as of July 1, 2019) living in North America (including Mexico, Canada, some Caribbean Islands) and U.S. “Territories” are encouraged to applyApplications are due Wednesday May 1, 2019 at 9 pm PT.

Each of the six recipients of the Brower Youth Awards will receive a $3,000 cash prize, a professionally produced short film about their work from an Emmy award-winning film crew, and flight and lodging accommodations for a week-long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area. During their stay, recipients will participate in coaching, visioning, leadership activities, and speaking and media engagements. The week of activities culminates in an awards ceremony in front of more than 800 guests in San Francisco on October 15, 2019.

Captain Planet Foundation ecoSolution Grants

The Captain Planet Foundation’s ecoSolution Grants (previously called “Small Grants”) have been the defining basis of the organization’s work over the last 25 years. The Foundation has funded over 2,100 projects that have impacted 1.2 million youth around the world – actively fulfilling its mission to build the next generation of environmental stewards and change agents.

ecoSolution Grants range from $500 – $2,500 and are intended to support solution-oriented, youth-led projects that result in real environmental outcomes. Visit the website to learn more about eligibility and restrictions and to fill out an application. The next deadline for applications is July 15, 2019.

Captain Planet Foundation ecoTECH Grants

Originally developed in partnership with the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and with ongoing support from Voya Financial, ecoTech Grants are specifically offered to engage children in inquiry-based, STEM-related projects that leverage technology and/or use nature-based design to address environmental problems in local communities. ecoTech Grants were created to combat the notion that students needed to choose between “the screen” or “the green” and to encourage educators and students to explore the role technology can play in designing and implementing solutions to some of our most pressing environmental challenges. ecoTECH grant projects must:

  • Be based in the U.S.
  • Integrate the use of technology to address environmental problems (not iPads or other tablets)
  • Be project-based
  • Be youth-led
  • Result in real, demonstrable environmental outcomes

ecoTECH grants are available as cash grants of up to $2,500 and support the purchase of materials and other project implementation expenses. The deadline to submit an application is July 15, 2019.

Crayola Creative Leadership Grants

The 2019 Creative Leadership Grants program provides grants for innovative, creative leadership team building within elementary and middle schools. To apply:

  • Form a collaborative team to plan innovative ways of infusing creativity throughout the school.
  • Brainstorm a leadership program that will enrich creative capabilities and confidence within the school community.
  • Plan how and who will lead this collaborative effort.
  • Complete the application.
  • Submit application by June 21, 2019 (the principal must be a member of the National Association of Elementary School Principals).
  • Receive a gift — every Early Bird application submitted before midnight on Monday, June 3, 2019 will receive a Crayola product Classpack®.

Each grant-winning school (up to 20 grants awarded) receives $2,500 and Crayola products valued at $1,000.

Dorothy Stout Professional Development Awards

The National Association of Geoscience Teachers gives these professional development awards to faculty and students at two year colleges and to K-12 teachers in support of:

  • Participation in Earth Science classes or workshops
  • Attendance at professional scientific or science education meetings
  • Participation in Earth Science field trips
  • Purchase of Earth Science materials for classroom use

Awards of $750 are made annually in three categories: Community College Faculty, Community College Student, and K-12 Educator. Award winners are also given a one-year membership to the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, which includes an online subscription to the Journal of Geoscience Education and the In The Trenches magazine.  The deadline to apply is April 15, 2019.


GetEdFunding is a curated collection of grants and awards created by education professionals for education professionals. Its database was designed to be easy-to-use and reliable, and all grant and funding opportunities are updated daily. Users can search by six criteria, including 43 areas of focus, 8 content areas, and 14 twenty-first century themes and skills, including environmental literacy. Once registered on the site, users can save grants of interest and return to them at any time.

Gloria Baron Prize for Young Heroes

Each year, the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes recognizes young people ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people, their communities, and our environment. The 25 winners each receive a $10,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education. Winners of the Barron Prize also receive:

  • Personalized plaque and certificate of recognition
  • Signed copy of The Hero’s Trail, by Barron Prize founder T.A. Barron
  • Dream Big, a documentary film featuring several Barron Prize winners
  • Young Heroes activities guide and bibliography
  • The opportunity to connect with other Barron Prize winners through the Young Heroes online forum
  • Numerous media opportunities – print, television, and radio

Nominations are due by 5 p.m. MST on April 15, 2019.

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams

The InvenTeam initiative, created by the Lemelson-MIT Program, offers an unparalleled opportunity for high school students to cultivate their creativity and experience invention. InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors who receive grants of up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. Up to 15 teams are selected for grants each school year. Each InvenTeam chooses its own problem to solve. Funds may be allocated for research, materials, and learning experiences related to the project. Funds may not be used to purchase capital equipment or professional services (e.g. intellectual property legal protection, engineering services).

Initial applications are due on April 8, 2019. Educators selected as finalists are considered Excite Award recipients and attend EurekaFest at MIT in June 2019. The award is an all-expense paid trip to MIT and professional development on invention education. Only Excite Award recipients who attend EurekaFest will be invited to submit a final application.

McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation Teacher Development Grants

McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation Teacher Development Grants support small teams of teachers in the formation and implementation of groundbreaking K-12 classroom instruction. These grants provide opportunities for teachers to integrate fresh strategies that encourage critical inquiry and to observe their effects on students. Teachers have an opportunity to reflect and write about their projects, as well as to share their results with other teachers. The Foundation awards grants to individuals in amounts of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of $30,000 over three years, provided the eligibility requirements continue to be met.

Apply early! Submissions are accepted January 15 – April 15. The application system closes once 350 submissions are received.

Power of Youth Challenge

The Power of Youth Challenge, an initiative of America’s Promise Alliance, invites youth from across the country to bring positive change to their communities by leading social service projects. Teams made up of at least three young people, ages 13 to 18, will have access to a mini-grant of up to $250, with the amount determined by project needs. Teams who complete their projects will be eligible to apply for an accelerator grant of up to $5,000 to grow their projects over the next year. The deadline for team registration is March 31, 2019. Visit the Power of Youth Challenge website to review the eligibility criteria and application process.

Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 mathematics and science (including computer science) teaching. Established by Congress in 1983, the President may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers each year.

Awards are given to teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or the U.S. Territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands).

The award recognizes those teachers who develop and implement a high-quality instructional program that is informed by content knowledge and enhances student learning. Since the program’s inception, more than 4,800 teachers have been recognized for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession.

Recipients of the award receive the following:

  • A certificate signed by the President of the United States.
  • A paid trip to Washington, DC to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities.
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.
  • An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation.

This year’s awards will honor mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers working in grades 7 – 12. Applications must be submitted by May 1, 2019.

Project Green Schools Green Difference Awards

Project Green Schools is a leading national nonprofit organization, developing the next generation of environmental leaders through education, project-based learning, and community service. Our Green Schools Society (grades K-12) and National Youth Council (grades 5-12)  honor and develop bright, civic-minded, environmentally literate citizens in schools and communities. Project Green Schools is excited to announce our 11th Annual Green Difference Awards honoring Principals, Teachers, Advisors, Students, Citizens, Schools, School Groups/Clubs, and our Sponsors nationally and internationally at our annual event on May 10, 2019. Nominate a Green Difference Maker today! Deadline: March 29, 2019.

Siemens 2019 Possibility Grant Sweepstakes

Enter the Possibility Grant Sweepstakes daily for your chance to win $10,000 for STEM at your school! “Fab” your lab with the latest and greatest gadgets, or purchase top-tier technology and supplies for STEM students. One school will be selected as our Grand Prize Winner in May 2019. The Grand Prize will consist of a $10,000 Siemens Possibility Grant, awarded in the form of a check made payable to the winning school and intended to be used by the school for a science lab makeover and/or STEM-related equipment, supplies, or technology. Eligible educators may enter the sweepstakes once per day until April 27, 2019.

Stockholm Junior Water Prize

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) was founded in 1997 by the Stockholm International Water Institute to complement the Stockholm Water Prize. The SJWP is considered the world’s most prestigious award presented to a high school student for a water-research project. Any high school student in grades 9 through 12, who has reached the age of 15 by August 1 of the competition year and has conducted a water-related science project, is eligible to participate in the competition.

Teams of up to three students may enter. Projects should be aimed at enhancing quality of life through improvement of water quality, water resources management, or water and wastewater treatment. Projects can explore water issues on local, regional, national, or global issues. It is essential that all projects use a research-oriented approach, which means they must use scientifically accepted methodologies for experimentation, monitoring, and reporting, including statistical analysis. Entries into the SJWP competition will be judged based on six criteria: relevance, creativity, methodology, subject knowledge, practical skills, and report and presentation.

Note: All students must enter the State SJWP Competition first. National competition entries are open to State winners only. 

The entry deadline for the 2019 competition is April 15th.

Voya Foundation Grants

Voya Foundation grants are focused on Financial Resilience. We work to ensure that youth are equipped with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) expertise and financial knowledge necessary to compete in the 21st century workforce and make smart financial decisions that lead to a secure retirement.

We accomplish this by accepting year-round grant applications from organizations that:

  1. Provide innovative and experiential K-8 STEM learning opportunities to promote an early interest in STEM career fields, and improve teachers’ capabilities in STEM; or
  2. Provide financial education curriculum to grade 9-12 students focused on navigating major financial milestones including student debt, credit, home ownership, financial products and services/financial capability, and family needs.

Learn more about applying for a Voya Foundation Grant.