How to Participate in the Green Thumb Challenge for National Green Week

Green_THUMBSince Green Week is anytime from Feb 4 through the end of April there is still plenty of time to make gardening your Green Week theme! The Green Thumb Challenge aims to connect children with nature and the healthy benefits of gardening as part of a nationwide movement to get kids growing. Whether sowing seeds during one class period or planning an outdoor garden, you and your students can be part of the movement!

Green in Action ideas for the Green Thumb Challenge!

Win $250 for your class or school by submitting your application materials to GEF by April 30!

  • Organize a garden plot design contest.
  • Create an Adopt-a-Plant campaign to improve indoor air quality.
  • Take steps to plan a school garden or outdoor learning lab.
  • Host a cooking contest where students can only use foods grown in the garden.
  • Plant a themed garden such as pizza, basil pesto or salsa and then have a party to celebrate its growth.
  • Organize a school yard beautification day.
  • Create outdoor artwork with recycled materials such as old CDs or bottles.

Gardening Start Up Kit

Starting a new school or community garden doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Start small and refer to GEF’s plentiful resources to help get you started.

Get Ready: Plan your garden — find tips, ideas and resources to guide your decision making and planning process.

Get Set: Build your garden — start with a small 4×4 raised bed or choose a more extensive plot layout. The choice is yours and it can be easy! GEF offers turn-key garden plans, location information, ground prep instructions and tips for ordering seeds.

Grow! Plant your garden — find out the best time, place and instructions for planting a variety of items in your garden. Learn about shade tolerant plants, companion planting, seed starting and more!

K-12 Gardening Curriculum and Activities

Being outdoors and gardening offers a whole new world from which students can learn. GEF offers free lessons, activities, recommended books, and much more as part of the Green Thumb Challenge. Here are some lesson ideas to get you started:


Grades 3-5

Middle School

High School


About Green Education Foundation (GEF)

Mission Green Education Foundation (GEF), a non-profit organization, is committed to creating a sustainable future through education. Sustainability Education provides educators with the real-world applied learning models that connect science, technology, and math education with the broader human concerns of environmental, economic, and social systems. GEF provides curriculum and resources to K-12 students and teachers worldwide with the goal of challenging youth to think holistically and critically about global environmental concerns and solutions. Visit to register for free and to gain full access to GEF’s comprehensive library of standards-based lessons and activities.
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