Register with GEF for FREE to enjoy these great benefits! 

    • member only contests and raffles

    • sustainability program news and updates

    • significant discounts at GEF Institute

Note: If you have problems registering, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Taking a GEF Institute Course? Login by clicking here.






Join Us

Sign Up for National Green Week!
Please note: Your privacy is very important to GEF. We do not share or sell any of your data.  It is with the sole purpose of providing you with relevant information that GEF will contact you.
2017 Challenge Runner-Up

Wardlaw + Hartridge Lower School Garden
Edison, NJ


Over 150 children, from pre-kindergarteners through fifth graders, actively participate in the Wardlaw + Hartridge Lower School Garden. Initially made possible in part by the support of the Wardlaw + Hartridge Parents Association, we are now in our second blooming season.

The relatively small organic garden with 6 raised beds continues to have an impact on the students, faculty, families, and the community at large. Students experience planting and then harvesting vegetables, including 30 lbs. of sweet potatoes, bags of green beans, and baskets of tomatoes and herbs.

Much of our produce has been donated to our local food bank. Some of our families have contributed their own garden surplus to our local food bank as well.




Many lessons have been integrated into our garden setting. In fact, virtually every discipline finds its way into our garden. We have done math by measuring different type alliums and have created grids in the boxes before planting. Our art teachers have had artists sketching and painting in various parts of the garden. Our Spanish teacher has made beautiful Spanish/English signs that label various beds and flora. Expressive poetry has been written by our second grade while our first graders busied themselves with composting experiments. Our Earth Club had had fun harvesting seeds and our Cooking Club harvested and made salsa from freshly picked tomatoes and parsley- a true farm to table experience.

We have taken the opportunity to educate the children about the declining numbers of bees and monarch butterflies and what we can do to help. Summer programs have created butterfly gardens being careful to include plenty of milkweed. Most gratifying is seeing children who were once afraid of a bee or unsure of themselves gain confidence and poise in the garden. Our students look forward to our large Earth Day celebration every year. They know that each year we create something incredible to add to the garden. Two years ago, we unveiled the garden on Earth Day and painted recycled pallets to add artwork to the chain link fence. Older grades often partner with a lower grade level to accomplish such garden projects throughout the year.



Many families volunteer to water and care for our garden during over the warm summer months. We also had a student complete an Eagle Scout project by designing benches that are configured so a class can actually be held outside at the garden. The garden has truly become a hub of the school with students of all ages as well as parents and teachers enjoying the sheer beauty of nature. Any day is a good day in the garden.

Our school is located in a very densely populated part of New Jersey so it is especially valuable as a living example of sustainability. Our goals are to not only teach about gardening but more importantly, about caring for our world. We plan to utilize this grant to improve our water conservation by installing drip irrigation and to expand our composting capabilities.