Lesson plans and resources tailored for schools. Teacher packets include tips for long-term and short-term student engagement. All lessons are aligned with national standards. 

Featured Garden

Thomas Jefferson Middle School Garden

Thomas Jefferson Middle School school garden

This organic garden at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia was created as a Girl Scout Silver Award project by Cadette Troop 557.…

The Smithsonian Gardens Green Ambassador Challenges introduce students to project-based learning in the real world, one garden at a time. Choose from one of two paths, or do both!

We encourage schools and teachers to undertake the full challenge and all steps involved in the design and/or research process of the projects. However, teachers can freely focus on individual lesson units within each packet for short-term engagement and inquiry.

For a less formal approach to either project please refer to the steps laid out on the challenge pages. Feel free to explore our Come Learn page for additional Smithsonian Gardens education resources. 

We want to hear from you! Email us at communityofgardens@si.edu if you would like more information on any of these programs, or help getting started.

Design a Green Space: Smithsonian Gardens Green Ambassador Challenge

Collage of gardens included in the Community of Gardens digital archive.

Become a Smithsonian Gardens Green Ambassador! Teens and students, empower yourselves to become local leaders by making your school or community...

Capture a Garden Story: Smithsonian Gardens Green Ambassador Challenge

Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, 1980s.

Coming soon! Learn how to conduct an oral history with a gardener, edit, and create a garden story to contribute...

Mobile App

Community of Gardens logo

Community of Gardens Mobile App Available Now! Connect with the stories in the Community of Gardens digital archive with our new...

A Democracy of Beauty for All: Highlights from the J. Horace McFarland Company Collection


J. Horace McFarland was a leading proponent of the City Beautiful Movement and president of the American Civic Association. Learn...

Grown from the Past: A Short History of Community Gardening in the United States

Hoop house with marigolds, arugula, and peppers growing. Heather McWane, photographer, 2009. Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Garden Club of America Collection.

Dig in and explore the history of community gardening in the United States with this digital exhibit from Smithsonian Gardens.   

The Spartan Garden at White Station High School

Watering the garden beds

In the fall of 2012, a group of environmentally-conscious high school students in Memphis, Tennessee, gathered around an idea. We wanted a vegetable…


Next Gen Gardeners

Want to encourage green careers amongst your students? From a "day in the life" to the winding path from high school student to horticulturist, Smithsonian Gardens staff share advice and wisdom on education, internships, career choices, and much more in the stories below. 

Check out this packet with information on the many professional opportunities in the world of horticulture. Landscape architect, gardener, irrigation specialist, and arborist are only a sampling of the wide range of green careers.

A Passion for Insects

Using a bugvac

Holly Walker is a Plant Health Specialist at Smithsonian Gardens. I sat down to talk with her on November 27, 2017 about entomology, her background…

Horticulture is Hard Work, But Rewards Bounty and Beauty

Sarah Hedean

Sarah Hedean is the Living Collections Manager at Smithsonian Gardens. I sat down to talk with her on August 9, 2017 about her career, the field of…

Welcoming Bluebirds to Smithsonian Gardens Greenhouses

Green roof on a bluebird box

Sarah Hedean is the Living Collections Manager at Smithsonian Gardens. I sat down to talk with her on August 9, 2017 about bluebird nesting boxes at…