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PlanYourGarden Whether you are planning a one-day planting activity, a small classroom garden, or a large outdoor garden for your entire school community, your first steps are to consider what you want to accomplish, and what you will need to reach your goals.  Click the links to the right to find helpful tools to get started!

For small garden projects, explore the fun, engaging garden activities available in the GEF Garden Activity Center.  Educators, you will find standards-based lessons related to gardening and composting that can be integrated into your classroom materials in the Green Thumb Challenge Curriculum section. Also be sure to visit Garden as a Teaching Tool for budget-friendly garden layouts, theme garden designs, and more!

Once you are registered for the Green Thumb Challenge by indicating your interest in your GEF member profile, you can get prepared and generate excitement with these four simple steps.

  1. Decide what you want to accomplish.

    First, decide the type of garden you want to grow. The Green Thumb Challenge welcomes every garden project, no matter the size - from planting pansies in a pot to sowing bean seeds in yogurt containers. Maybe you want to start a large outdoor edible garden; maybe you want to grow classroom seedlings to integrate into your curriculum. How about planting bulbs outside the building in the spring, for a fun afternoon activity? The choices are endless. See Small Garden Projects and Large Garden Projects for more ideas.
  2. Thinking big? Form a team.

    Talk to administrators, custodians, and other school community members to create a plan for larger projects - visit Form a Leadership Team for steps and suggestions. If you need to seek grant funding, use the GEF grant resources, and get started now.
  3. Explore the resources and interactive tools on the GEF site.

    "Get Ready...Get Set...GROW!" The Green Thumb Challenge website is designed to provide you with the steps and instructions needed to start, care, and maintain a school or youth garden. Curriculum links, resources, garden hints, and troubleshooting tips are integrated into the site to meet your school gardening needs. In the months leading up to the Feb. 1 Green Thumb launch, familiarize yourself with the resources available to you - especially the Get Ready section, which provides suggestions for pre-planning your garden. 
  4. Share your story!

    The best way to get more kids gardening is by spreading the word, sharing insights, and connecting with peers. Email photos, blogs, and feedback about your experiences with gardening at school or in the community to be featured on GEF's website. Or simply post your own photos and comments on GEF's Facebook page! 

GEF is excited to join you and your school community in the campaign to get kids growing, to provide hands-on learning opportunities, and to promote healthier habits in the lives of children. It is through your participation that change happens.