Green Teacher Network

For nine years, the Green Teacher Network has been a vibrant educational collaboration between three of Chicago’s most influential green organizations: Chicago Botanic Garden, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, and Openlands.

The Green Teacher Network is currently expanding to include other organizations in Chicago that support teachers’ efforts to create school gardens and use green spaces as multidisciplinary tools, enhancing the curriculum of all students.

For more information please contact John Cawood.


Chicago Botanic Garden

The Joseph J. Regenstein School of the Chicago Botanic Garden seeks to develop and deliver plant-based educational programs for a variety of audiences. In particular it offers opportunities for teachers to bring the world of plants to life in their classrooms. From field trips to teacher workshops and student internships, educators and students encounter innovative teaching techniques and meaningful science content. Discover fresh ideas for connecting to the schoolyard and garden and helping students develop a deeper appreciation for the natural world. For more information on our programs please visit our Teachers and Students webpage.

Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance

Garfield Park Conservatory is a unique place for students and teachers to walk among and learn about a world-class collection of plants from around the globe. Nine display greenhouses, including the historic Fern Room, the innovative Sugar from the Sun exhibit, Children’s Garden, and Desert House bring plants to life. Plus, beautiful outdoor spaces offer 10 acres of grounds to explore including the Urban Demonstration Garden, Lily Ponds, Prairie Path, and Play & Grow Garden. The Conservatory is owned and operated by the Chicago Park District. Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, the non-profit programming and fundraising arm of the Conservatory, provides early childhood and family programs, urban greening education, nature play experiences, school and teacher programs, volunteer coordination, community programs, and special events throughout the year.

When it comes to incorporating plants and nature into classroom curricula, Garfield Park Conservatory offers endless possibilities for meaningful connections in science, ecology, gardening and greening, math, geography, history, art, architecture, and many other areas of study.


To date, Openlands has installed 54 school gardens through its Building School Gardens program. This dynamic program includes collaborating with “garden teams” of at least 4 staff, parents and community members per school on identifying the goals and desired elements of every garden and hiring subcontractors for expert design and construction work. Openlands provides all of the materials, organization and oversight for installing student’s gardens during Student Installation Days and helps with integrating the gardens into multi-disciplinary curriculum, including science, math, language arts, health, visual and performing arts for all grade levels. For added wellness and a bit of fun, the idea of physical activity as a regular daily routine is also incorporated. Through Building School Gardens, students learn life changing, hands-on information about living a healthy lifestyle, while getting in touch with nature and plants. 

The Green Teacher Network webpage is sponsored by Peoples Gas.

       North Shore Gas

 Support for Green Teacher Network is provided by Polk Bros Foundation.