What We Do
Outdoor Garden Classroom Program
Green Our Planet launched its Outdoor Garden Classroom STEM Program in Las Vegas, Nevada in January 2013. The Outdoor Garden STEM Program helps public and private schools raise funding for outdoor school gardens and implements comprehensive programming so that students can learn a variety of subjects including STEM, nutrition, and conservation. Green Our Planet’s “turn-key” Outdoor Garden STEM Program is now the largest and one of the most comprehensive school garden programs offered in the United States. It is also the only school garden program in the United States accredited by STEMWORKS, a national organization that rigorously evaluates STEM programs using strict criteria and then recommends them nationally. You can learn more details about our program on our School Gardens page.
Green Our Planet launched Nevada’s first school hydroponics STEM program in 2017. Currently, Green Our Planet operates the program in 45 schools in the Clark County School District in Southern Nevada and also in Northern Nevada, Georgia, Arkansas, Alaska, New York, Idaho and Florida. Green Our Planet’s program includes six different hydroponic systems for K-5th grades. They range from the simplest hydroponic system for first grade to a commercial hydroponic system for 5th grade. The systems are easy to manage, understand and use. The largest system is 4 feet long 4 feet high and and can grow more than 200 plants at a time, producing over 200 lbs of fruits and vegetables per year. Along with our Outdoor Garden Classroom STEM Program, our Hydroponics STEM Program is the only school hydroponics program in the United States accredited by STEMWORKS, which rigorously evaluates STEM programs using rigorous criteria. Click here to learn more about our Hydroponics Program.
Annual School Garden Conference
Green Our Planet launched Nevada’s first school garden conference in Las Vegas in 2014. Prior to that, schools with gardens commonly operated in isolation, with each school having little or no knowledge of what other schools did with their gardens. The idea behind the school garden conference was simply to offer a venue where teachers with school gardens could share their experiences and stories with other teachers. At the first conference in 2014, about 80 teachers attended. Now in its sixth year, Green Our Planet’s School Garden Conference has more than 400 attendees. Find out more about the next school garden conference at SchoolGardenConference.org.
Student Farmers Markets/Giant Farmers Market
In May of 2017, four years after Green Our Planet helped the first school in Las Vegas organize a student-run farmers market (click here to see that first farmers market), Green Our Planet helped organize the largest, student-run market ever held in the United States. More than 300 students from 30 Las Vegas K-12 schools participated. Since that first farmers market in 2014, Clark County Schools have held more than 500 farmers markets of their own. Due to the success of the first Giant Farmers Market, Green Our Planet now holds the event twice a year, with more than 500 students from over 50 schools participating at each one.
Green Our Planet also wove the creation of farmers markets into its fifth-grade curriculum, so students could learn how to create a business out of their school gardens. In partnership with the Bank of Nevada, Green Our Planet launched a green financial literacy program where the banks pair bankers with each school’s farmers market students to help them launch their green businesses. Now 16 local financial institutions partner with over 40 Las Vegas schools and participate in the Financial Literacy Program.
Green Our Planet trains CCSD teachers how to teach experientially in outdoor and indoor (hydroponic) gardens through 15-hour training sessions that take place numerous times each year. The three different trainings (STEM 101, STEM 102 and Hydroponics 101) are approved by the Nevada Board of Education and teachers earn 1 PDE credit or 5 CUs for participating. During the 7.5 hour face-to-face session, teachers learn basic gardening tips, get to explore and practice the lessons created by Green Our Planet, which follow Next Generation Science Standards, to be used in their outdoor learning gardens, learn from experts on a variety of topics like composting, pollinator gardens and more. Teachers also complete a project to benefit their outdoor classroom space and community. Click here to see a video for our outdoor, STEAM 101 teacher training session. Click here to see a typical hydroponics teacher training session.
In addition to the full day teacher trainings, Green Our Planet offers 3-hour Garden 101 workshops in partnership with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. These workshops are held multiple times during the year. Watch this video of a typical Garden 101 workshop. Green Our Planet also offers schools one-on-one teacher training sessions conducted by a Green Our Planet teacher trainer that are held in the school’s garden.
Creating Green Schools and Communities
Since Green Our Planet is a nonprofit conservation organization that focuses on education, part of its mission is to help schools become as sustainable as possible. Green Our Planet actively helps enroll schools in CCSD’s recycling program, which both generates funds for the schools and teaches students about the importance of recycling. Green Our Planet also removes water-intensive grass and replaces it with garden beds with drip irrigation that consume considerably less water. Replacing grass with school gardens saves each school around 250,000 gallons of water per year and has resulted in saving CCSD more than 22 million gallons of water a year.
Green Our Planet further supports green communities by helping schools share their organic harvest with their neighborhoods, many of which are located in food deserts. Schools where Green Our Planet works now hold more than 200 farmers markets on their campuses per year, and provide fresh, organic produce to the local communities.