Find 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. 

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. 

Design a Green Space

Community of Gardens Collage

Empower teens and students to become local leaders by making their school or community a healthier place by taking on Smithsonian Gardens’ challenge to design a green space. As local leaders, young people will gain a better understanding of how to make a positive impact on your environment. They will be challenged to conduct research, present their findings, and design visual representations of the space. Students and teachers who complete this challenge will become Smithsonian Gardens Green Ambassadors, joining a national network of leaders who use gardens as conduits for community improvement.

Students can follow along here as they begin their journey.

Download the Teacher Packet 

Capture a Garden Story - COMING SOON!

Francesco Pietanza, Brooklyn, NewYork, 1980s. 

Students will learn how to conduct an oral history with a gardener, edit, and create a garden story to contribute to the Community of Gardens digital archive. This is an opportunity to make an impact by generating and contributing original research to a real Smithsonian Institution collection. Students who complete this challenge will become Smithsonian Gardens Green Ambassadors. 

Teacher Packet coming soon.

Next Gen Gardeners 

Students at Common Good City Farm, 2014.

Want to encourage green careers amongst your students? Check out this packet with information on the many professional opportunities in the world of horticulture. 

We want to hear from you! Email us at 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...