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Gomez Heritage Outdoor Classroom

National Energy Education Development Energy Infobooks

National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project has Complete Energy Infobooks in PDF form.  The Infobooks are available for Primary, Elementary, Intermediate, and Secondary levels.  The comprehensive classroom resource containing fact sheets that introduce students to energy and describe energy sources, electricity consumption, efficiency, conservation, transportation, climate change, and emerging technologies. Infobooks can be used as a resource for many energy activities.

The Green Education Foundation has developed a clearinghouse for sustainability-related lessons

The clearinghouse allows teachers to freely utilize lesson plans, upload their own plans, and comment and rate plans left by others. Lessons are organized by K–2, 3–5, middle school, and high school levels. You can seach by lesson type (e.g., group work, lecture, project), sustainability topic (e.g., water, energy), and based on different green education foundation program categories.

The clearinghouse appears to be in its infancy, but is definitely worth checking out to see if any lessons can integrate into your current plan or perhaps into future plans. As more teachers join and share, the clearinghouse will be more and more valuable.


The Green Schools Initiative was founded in 2004 by parent-environmentalists who were shocked by how un-environmental their kids’ schools were and mobilized to improve the environmental health and ecological sustainability of schools in the U.S.


Washington Green Schools is a non-profit program supported by government agencies, individuals, businesses and foundations.  Its robust educational resources are available to all public and private K-12 schools in Washington state.


Illinois Greening Schools Program - This is a directory of web resources that relate to greening curricula and activities.


Energy Conservation

U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy – energy conservation lessons & activities


Energy Star for Kids – energy conservation lessons and interactive games


Material Resources Conservation

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Waste Reduction Guide – information, resources, and case studies related to waste reduction


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools – variety of tools and resources for minimizing waste production and recycling materials at school


Earth 911 – information about various recyclable items and a search function to help identify entities in the local area that accept and recycle certain products


Water Conservation

Get Wise – classroom materials and tips for water (and energy) conservation



U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: National Idle-Reduction Campaign – information and resources related to reducing vehicular idling at schools


Metro Area Ride Share – site dedicated to helping people identify carpooling opportunities for traveling to school and work


General/Miscellaneous Resources

Nebraska Alliance for Conservation and Environmental Education – various resources related to environmental education and conservation activities


Green Schools Alliance – various resources, tools, and information to help schools lessen their environmental impact


Green Omaha Coalition’s Green Schools Program – information and various resources (e.g., scorecard) to assist green teams in measuring their efforts to become a green school  https://www.greenomahacoalition.org/councils/green-education/


Chefs Move to Schools

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) along with the School Nutrition Association (SNA) are leading a new coalition of top culinary, nutrition and school organizations to oversee the Chefs Move to Schools program. The program pairs chefs with interested schools in their communities to work with teachers, parents and school nutrition professionals to help educate kids about food and nutrition. The goal of the program is to promote chefs as the catalyst for creating a new nation of child food advocates and start turning the tide on unhealthy eating behaviors.

Fuel Up to Play 60

Funding is available to K-12 schools enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60. The competitive, nationwide funding program can help your school jumpstart and sustain healthy nutrition and physical activity improvements.

Green Thumb Challenge  

GEF and Gardener’s Supply Company have teamed up on an exciting funding opportunity for established youth garden projects nationwide! The organizations are calling on schools and youth groups to submit chronicles of their garden projects in a race to win a $1,000 prize. The award is designed to support the continued sustainability of an exceptional youth garden program that has demonstrated success, and has impacted the lives of kids and their community.

Kids Gardening

National Gardening Association’s grant and award programs are funded by generous corporations and foundations that share NGA's vision of a greener future and belief in the powerful impact gardening programs can have on the mental, physical, and psychological health of individuals. Several different grants are available.

Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program

The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program gives small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, and other non-­‐profit and not-­‐for-­‐profit places of learning in the United States, including houses of worship, with a site available for a stewardship project.

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education

Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation (LCEF) knows how hard you work for your kids and your community and we're dedicated to helping your parent-­ ‐ teacher group achieve even more for your school. Apply for our Toolbox for Education Grant now and build on your already impressive parent group success with Lowe's.

Project LearningTree GreenWorks! Grant

Have an idea for an environmental service-­ ‐ learning project for your students? Need funds to implement it? PLT GreenWorks! grants of up to $3,000 are available.

Safer Brand Garden Grants

Safer Brand, a company that sells organic gardening products, just announced they will are starting an annual school garden grant to help kids build healthy habits through gardening.

Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grants

Whole Foods Foundation is accepting new grant applications from K-12 schools and/or 501(c)3

organizations. $2,000 grants are available to those developing or currently maintaining a garden

project on school grounds that will engage children with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Gardening is a valuable tool for a variety of settings and content areas.  

The graphic below is from the KidsGardening Helping Young Minds Grow web site. 

There are many things to consider before beginning a gardening project. It is important that you read the document Garden Planning OPS Policy prior to implementing any phase of the project.

School garden provides hands-on learning opportunities
A school garden allows a Pennsylvania learning-support teacher to incorporate math, reading, science and nutrition into hands-on lessons for students in first through fourth grades. Each Friday, students are able to taste the fruits of their labor after a cooking class. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (9/27)

The following sections contain Resources and Grants. If you plan to apply for a grant, please be certain you complete and submit the OPS Request to Apply for a Grant document prior to applying.

Gardening Resources


Browse Green Education Foundation's (GEF) resources and tool to help make your garden the best it can be!


Compost is a great way to create a sustainable garden! Learn how to take your leftovers and food waste and turn it into a nutrient rich fertilizer. Learn More!


Keep gardening simple and use this handy guide to decide what vegetables to plant and how!  The guide also includes critical harvesting information. Learn More!


Find out what steps to take throughout the year to make your garden as successful as possible.  Learn More!


Maintaining your garden properly is critical to a successful harvest. Find out what steps you can take to continuously improve your garden and its harvest!  Learn More!


From A to Z, learn all the key terms to improve your garden vocabulary!  Learn More!

Build your own Rain Barrel (MARC) 
Center for Ecoliteracy Site provides a variety of instructional tools to assist teachers as they plan and implement sustainable curriculum.
Farm to Cafeteria (parents and educators)How to Bring All the Right People to the Table
Green Thumb ChallengeThe Green Thumb Challenge aims to connect children with nature and the healthy benefits of gardening as part of a nationwide movement to get kids growing.
How Can I Make a Rain Barrel? (EPA) 
I Can Grow (Burpee Home Gardens) 
Garden Planning OPS Policy 
OPS Purchasing Division Protocols for Procurement  
Garden Sheds and/or Fences OPS Policy 
A Guide for Creating School Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms (Center for Ecoliteracy) 
Douglas County School Garden Toolkit (2012) 

Green Ribbon Articles

Winter Break Preparation These small and simple actions that you (or your students) can take to help our school shut down for the break as well as save energy and money!
Take Your Class Outside Taking your class outside isn’t just a way to engage them in science and geography. Your NEA colleagues who set to strolling when the temperatures rise say it also can inspire students’ writing or illustrate a math concept – and it’s an excellent incentiv
A Peaceful Classroom through Feng ShuiAllUsing Simple Feng Shui Techniques to Create Balance and Support Students
Accommodating Those with Special Learning NeedsAllStudents with special learning needs can be a challenge inside the classroom. But with proper accommodations they can thrive in outdoor learning environments.
Doing Business in BirminghamAllThis award-winning project leverages technology to help students understand and promote sustainability within the local business community.
Engaging Youth in Biomimicry: Concrete without QuarriesAllA sustainable chemistry lab inspired by nature that creates concrete from car exhaust and seawater.
Exploring the Twin Landscapes of Biophilic LearningAllNine mini-activities to help enrich our relationship with nature and others
Fostering Students' Water WisdomAllBring water awareness into your classroom and contribute to a better global future
Hands-On Learning with BiocharAllExplore the emerging technology associated with this form of charcoal that absorbs carbon and helps plants grown
LetterboxingAllA multi-disciplinary treasure hunt that helps young people learn the landscape around them
New Country, New Home, New NatureAllWelcoming immigrants through an intercultural outdoor recreation program
Reflective Sit SpotsAllGiving students the time and space to get in touch with their inner thoughts and connect with the natural world.
Sensory LearningAllSpark curiosity and engagement in your students by activating all of their senses
Two-Eyed Seeing as a Way of KnowingAllBlending Native and Western Science in Outdoor Learning
Using Multiple Intelligences to Promote Nature EducationAllA compilation of activities which let students - young and old - explore their environment by using the eight forms of intelligence.
Visualizing More Sustainable FuturesAllContemporary education ignores the future but sustainability education requires it. Here's a compelling rationale and some activities that will help young people think more critically and creatively about the future.
When Nature SpeaksAllUsing role-play and dramatic activities to encourage feelings of environmental connectedness in children
Yoga in the ClassroomAllIncrease focus, relieve stress, and help improve mental, emotional and physical well-being for yourself and your students.
Zambian Girl Inspires Water ActionAllStories of hope empower youth to become global citizens
Active Students, Passive SolarElemA renovated passive solar home serves as a unique backdrop for teaching elementary science and math
An Outdoor Play and Learn AreaElemThis unique elementary school playground helps kids learn about science and the environment while having fun and keeping active
Connecting with BugsElemUse children's natural curiosity about insects to ignite a passion for science and the natural world
Follow the Light Energy from the SunElemSimulating greenhouse gas emissions via kinetic learning
Hemlock Holmes Tree DetectiveElemTeach elementary students about trees and their ring patterns by solving environmental science mysteries.
The Nature-Study MovementElemRevisiting this historic movement reinforces the importance of integrating art and science when helping young children get engaged with the natural world
Turning Rotten into RightElemHow a year-long study of decomposition turned a class of Kindergarten students into unlikely environmental stewards.
Wild Harvesting and Traditional Ecological KnowledgeElemIntroduce students to Indigenous knowledge and local ecosystems by sustainably harvesting wild products.
Wildlife OlympicsElemA series of activities that teach young school children about wildlife by mimicking the amazing feats of local animals.
Endangered Animals and Science LiteracyMidFostering concern for endangered species among students in grades 5-8 with lessons that connect language arts and science
Engaging Youth in Biomimicry: Swimming with SharksMidTeach biomimicry to 8-12 year olds via lessons that model the biology of sharks to solve human problems
Mapping to Increase Student Awareness of Local WildlifeMidTwo simple activities that help middle school students increase their sense of connection with their natural surroundings
The Mystery of the Missing MayfliesMidHow to lead grades 5-8 students in inquiry-based field investigations of their local waterways
Butterflies and BiomimicryMidHow 10-15 year olds can put to work the unique properties of Morpho Butterfly wings to help solve human problems.
Investigating Water Pathways in SchoolyardsHighBased on a learning progression of student understandings, this hands-on activity provides high school students with a locally-relevant way to learn about the water cycle.
Let's Build a HomeHighWhile learning the basics of sustainable home design, high school students are empowered to think of their own futures.
The Power of CladisticsHighA visual teaching tool to demonstrate evolutionary relationships between different organisms to teenagers.
Children's Rights and Climage ChangeSecondaryHelping young people realize their right to a healthy planet
Connecting Art and ScienceSecondaryUsing clay, creativity and colors to teach environmental science concepts to 1-18 year olds.
Food Justice Empowers TeenagersSecondaryStudents from low-income families probe inequity around healthy, affordable food
Fostering Leadership for SustainabilitySecondaryTen basic principles for getting students aged 11-18 engaged and active in bringing about change for a more sustainable future.
Improving the Air We BreathSecondaryPractical opportunities to involve students aged 10-16 in investigating indoor and outdoor air quality in their communities
Pedestrian CitySecondaryMiddle and high school students investigate the walkability of their urban neighborhoods
Stormwater StewardsSecondaryStormwater science lab and field activities for middle and high school students