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

Herbariums, Not Your Average Herbs

Lesson Description:
Students will collect interesting plants they find in their schoolyard. once collected, the plants will be dried, pressed and preserved in students' garden journals.

Eco-fact: packaging makes up a third of all garbage tossed in the U.S. that’s a lot of trash!

1. walk around your schoolyard with your class and observe the different types plants found there.
2. have each student find the most unordinary, extraordinary, not your average plant and cut a four to six inch piece with scissors or gardening sheers. Include a few leaves, but be careful not to cut a small, young plant.children should not cut from the same plant – over-pruning can cause damage while just a snip won’t be noticed. they should cut from the outside of the bush or plant (the inside tends to be new shoots).
3. then have the class record the name of the plant, the date and where they found it in their nature journal. if you can’t identify your plant, use a field guide or other garden resource to help you determine its name.
4. bring your plant findings inside.
5. place a piece of cardboard on the table, with two pieces of newspaper on top of it.
6. then lay a plant clipping on top of the newspaper.
7. cover the plant with two more pieces of newspaper and another piece of cardboard.
8. lay down two more sheets of newspaper and repeat the same process until all the plants have been placed in a stack.
9. set the stack in a cool, dry spot and place several heavy books on top.  Let the plants remain in the stack for several days, or until they have completely dried.
10. once the plants have dried, gently remove them from the plant press, and have each student glue their plant into their nature journal.

- if you wish to cut less school vegetation, students can work in teams or pairs.

- students can research their chosen plant and present their findings to the class in a report or powerpoint presentation.
Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Project

Sustainability Topic:
  • Gardening
  • Waste Reduction

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

Time Needed:
30 - 50 minutes
Materials Needed:
  • newspaper
  • cardboard (from cereal boxes, works great!)
  • several heavy books
  • scissors or garden pruning sheers
  • nature journals
  • glue

School or Group:
Contact Email:

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools