October 6, 2009 —The Green Education Foundation (GEF) and Lowe’s announced today the launch of a nationwide gardening initiative--the Green Thumb Challenge. GEF’s goal is to enlist 10,000 schools and youth groups from across the country to plant indoor or outdoor gardens in the spring of 2010.
GEF’s website will provide everything a novice would need to plant gardens, including checklists for getting school approvals, plot location guidelines, funding sources, grant request templates, garden plans, vegetable and flower suggestions and much more. “A significant goal of the Green Education Foundation is to promote creative and effective ways for schools and teachers to incorporate the outdoors into their curricula. The Green Thumb Challenge, where students plant and maintain gardens, is a perfect solution,” noted Victoria Waters, President GEF.
GEF will link gardening to a multitude of standards-based curriculum in science, math, language arts, creative arts and technology. Summer internships and community service credit will be available to middle and high school students interested in a potential future in the new green economy. Gardening also provides the perfect mechanism for teaching children the importance of eating well: “Is there a better opportunity than planting vegetables to discuss nutrition with kids?” commented Master Gardener, Claire Chenevert.
Cub Scouts Pack 44 of Walpole, MA, a pilot for the Green Thumb Challenge, planted their garden this past spring. Pack Leader Richard DeNoyer jumped at the idea of the boys planting a garden because “it was an effective way to foster team work and responsibility with the added benefit of getting the boys to interact with nature on an ongoing basis.”
The Green Thumb Challenge is riding a wave of national enthusiasm for gardening. Inspired by several prominent figures, including first lady Michelle Obama, who planted a garden at the White House this past spring, Americans are gardening once again.
“Lowe’s has seen an increase in the popularity of growing your own garden,” said Patti Price, Lowe’s senior vice president of outdoor living. “It is a great project for families to work on together throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons, and families can also save money on their grocery bills.”
In order to accommodate shared information across individual gardening groups and those wanting to connect nationally, GEF will host an online community where students and educators can share planting ideas, watering and weeding schedules, recipes, success stories and photos. GEF will also provide Q&A moderated by a team of master and experienced gardeners via its gardening blog. Schools and youth groups are encouraged to enroll now at www.greenthumbchallenge.com or www.GreenEducationFoundation.org. Schools who sign up early will have the opportunity to win gardening kits which include gardening tools, gloves and seeds. In addition, Lowe’s has a great resource at LowesCreativeIdeas.com that features garden grow-alongs and tips for creating your own garden at home.
About Green Education Foundation (GEF)
The Green Education Foundation (GEF) is a non-profit organization that provides educational resources to promote sustainable, impactful pro-green behaviors in children, families and communities. For more information visit .www.GreenEducationFoundation.org