Garbage to Gardens

Educational program and resource

educational display‘Garbage to Gardens’ is a set of lessons designed to introduce students to the concept of the “recycled garden.” The activities were initially developed by the Smithsonian Gardens Green Team for use as educational demonstrations, and then later expanded upon by our Education department to promote environmental awareness to our visitors and local communities.

‘Garbage to Gardens’ addresses several issues pertaining to sustainability including water conservation, recycling, and natural gardening techniques. Students will be involved in hands-on activities ranging from creating compost to exploring the quantity of available water on earth. We want students to feel critically engaged with the environment around them and understand their role in it.

Garbage to Gardens Activities

The activities can be used either individually or as a unit; if used as a unit, it is recommended to go through the activities in the order provided. However, we encourage you to amend them to suit your needs.

  • Garbage to Gardens Introduction
    ‘Garbage to Gardens’ addresses several issues pertaining to sustainability including water conservation, recycling, and natural gardening techniques. Students will be involved in hands-on activities ranging from creating compost to exploring the quantity of available water on earth.
  • Don’t Pitch It, Plant It!
    There are a number of plants that can be re-grown from seemingly spent kitchen scraps. What can you grow?
  • Let It Rot!
    What is compost? Why is it important?
  • Two Drops for You!
    Help students make connections between earth’s water supply and human water use.
  • Garbage to Gardens Glossary