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.

Welcome to the Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Here, you can find free sustainability lessons to use in your class and upload your own lessons to share. Be sure to rate the lessons you use and leave comments for your colleagues!

All of GEF's lessons and programs are offered at no cost.  Become a member to support GEF and enjoy member only benefits! 
Join button_03

Professional Development

GEFinstitute LOGO_WEB GEF Institute offers affordable, online sustainability courses eligible for professional development or academic credit.
Give your resume a boost!

Sponsor a Teacher

Support educators in your community by helping them earn a Certificate in Sustainability or take an online course. Find out more about sponsorship!
Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Recycled Paper Nature Journal

Lesson Description:
Students will create their own nature journal from old notebooks to record all of their eco-discoveries around their schools, homes, and neighborhoods.

Eco-fact: in the United States, paper products make up the largest percentage of municipal solid waste, and hard copy bills alone generate almost 700,000 tons of waste and almost two million tons of carbon dioxide.

  1. to make a nature journal from old notebooks, begin by removing the clean blank paper from old notebooks. be sure to tear along the dotted line, removing all frayed edges.
  2. arrange the paper so that all the pages face the same way, and are evenly lined up.
  3. once the paper is arranged, place a piece of construction paper, or lightweight cardstock on the top and bottom of your paper stack.
  4. check and make sure the paper is still nicely lined up. if necessary, use paper clips to hold the paper stack in place.
  5. one the left side of the paper stack, place a row of five staples ½ inch away from the edge, evenly spaced.
  6. once the journal has been stapled, students can decorate the cover with their favorite things in nature, including a title such as nature journal and their name.

  • instead of making journals, pre-made notebooks or diaries can be used as well.
  • students can decorate the covers with pictures of plants, flowers, vegetables, and fruits.

Lesson Type:
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Gardening
  • Waste Reduction

GEF Program Category:
  • Waste Reduction Challenge
  • Green Thumb Challenge

Time Needed:
30 minutes
Materials Needed:
  •  coloring utensils
  • old notebooks 
  • stapler 
  • 8 ½ x 11 lightweight cardstock or construction paper

School or Group:
Contact Email:

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools