Who are you:
administrator, parent, or community member?
school in the suburbs, inner city or a rural area? What land
resources do you have?
of year will you start? Nature education is year-round, but the
season will make a difference in where you start.
planning a garden for one classroom or will other classrooms
What is the
skill set of the people behind the plan? You will need a
variety of skills including: gardeners, writers, business
people, photographers and ones who are willing to take on
whatever needs to be done.
The interest in
creating school gardens has skyrocketed in the last two
years. Though there is talk of funding from government
resources for such programs, competition for all
grants is fierce. Most grants are targeted to
populations that are designated low-income or under-served
and are targeted to inner city schools. If you don't
fit these parameters your time would be better spent approaching the PTA, local businesses or
having a bake/rummage sale to raise the initial funds.
complicated you plan, the less financing you will need.
You can get
almost all of the supplies you really need donated from
people in the community.
i.e. Home Depot and Lowes are inundated with requests for
donations. Look to the parents of your students; where
do they work? You are much more likely to get a "yes" if
there is some kind of prior connection with a company.
programs and activities around whatever you can get donated.
Do not get
caught up in all of the possibilities; they are endless. Pick
two or three activities and focus your energy and resources on
Do not plan
too far ahead and be flexible in your plans so you can be open
to potential teaching tools. i.e. When
someone donated a quart size bag of orange cosmos seeds we
planted them everywhere and learned they are perfect for
teaching about the seed process. When students
returned in the fall the plants were in full bloom and we
soon learned that the plant had all stages of the process
(tight bud, newly opened flower, fully opened, fading, seed
pod forming and seed ready to drop on the same plant at the
can use a weed pulled from a crack in the pavement to teach
about roots and a dandelion to teach seed dispersal.
You have most of what you need right outside your window.
Soil, air, water and sun are the main ingredients.
There is no
need to pay for lesson plans or special programs for teaching
about nature or gardening. There is an abundance of
high quality, free,
Be a wise
consumer. New companies are popping up every day with just
the right tools, curriculum and other "stuff" you "need" for
your garden program.