Learn about the rehabilitation of the greenhouse at Andrew Cooke Magnet School.
In partnership with the Green Education Foundation, we are proud to announce the 2011 winner of the Green Thumb Challenge: Growing Green, a program at Andrew Cooke Magnet School, in Waukegan, IL. The garden/greenhouse science curriculum combines the living landscape with the core concepts taught in science classrooms.
To win the $5,000 grant, youth gardening programs from across the country were challenged to demonstrate the impact of their garden on the community.
“The school was able to transform unused space into a flourishing learning environment,” says Maree Gaetani, Gardening Relations Director at Gardener’s Supply. “They have managed to incorporate standards-based lessons for students, as well as get the greater community involved.”
The school started work in 2008, when it began rehabilitating an idle greenhouse. Today their program teaches students about the relationships between water, energy, air and plants. Teachers can use the gardens for hands-on experiments and activities. What’s more, the gardens beautify the community, attract wildlife and provide nutritious food for the school community.
“It is a perfect platform to teach elementary-school students,” says Todd Freer, science teacher and leader of Growing Green.Designing, building and managing a garden requires a critical thinking — and the ability to navigate shifts in the weather. “This type of learning will prepare the students for success in the 21st century.”
GEF, a sustainability education nonprofit organization, launched the Green Thumb Challenge in 2009. The largest youth gardening initiative in history, the Green Thumb Challenge is a free program that mobilizes schools and youth groups to plant gardens and incorporate standards-based lessons and activities related to gardening in the classroom.
For more information, go to greenthumbchallenge.org.