2 min read
A teacher kneels beside a raised bed garden with seven middle school students.

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System home grounds team presents STEM in the Garden, a teacher training workshop.

For a school’s outdoor classroom to be successful, it must be grown and maintained correctly. This course will train teachers on basic gardening principles and ways to align the Alabama gardening calendar with a school year calendar. It will also include solutions to common problems associated with outdoor classrooms. STEM in the Garden will strengthen a person’s garden knowledge while maximizing their school’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching capability. Participating schools will receive a free turnkey raised bed garden.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available with this course through the Alabama A&M University/University of Alabama at Huntsville (AAMU/UAH) Inservice Center on the PowerSchool platform. Join Us in Madison, Alabama,

Who should attend?

This class is open to anyone who works with school gardens, including teachers, school staff, school garden volunteers, and master gardeners. Attendance is not limited to participants from the school district where the workshop is held.  Participants from any local school district may attend any workshop that is convenient for them.


Future training dates are currently being scheduled.

Workshop Training Topics

Topic offerings are at the discretion of the agents planning the training series. Each topic will require up to 45 minutes of training time and may include a combination of lecture-style presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and discussion of curriculum activities. Presentations and supplemental information for each topic can be downloaded from Box by home grounds agents. Topics include:

  • Plant nutrition and building soil quality
  • Organic vs. conventional growing methods
  • Building and maintaining raised bed gardens
  • Composting and vermicomposting
  • Insects in the garden: the good and bad (IPM)
  • Pollinator gardens
  • Basics of growing vegetables and herbs
  • Managing fire ants in the outdoor classroom
  • Rain gardens and rainwater harvesting
  • Plant propagation in the classroom
  • Ornamental ponds: plants and maintenance
  • Lawns and managing weeds in the outdoor classroom
  • Irrigation in the outdoor classroom

CEU Credits

A total of 3 CEU credit hours are available per day of participation through PowerSchool. A total of 6 CEUs will be awarded to those who complete the entire workshop. In addition to registering with Alabama Extension, participants also need to register for the course in the PowerSchool platform before June 6 to receive CEU credits.

Provided Materials

The following STEM curriculum textbook and supplemental planning calendar will be provided as part of the registration costs.

  • The Garden STEM: Curriculum for your Garden Classroom
    by Katie Donohoe (Author), Olivia M. Thompson (Editor),
    Torborg Davern (Artist)
    Paperback: 600 pages
    Publisher: College of Charleston (September 10, 2015) Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0986187100
    ISBN-13: 978-0986187100
  • Seasonal Planting Guide and Calendar for School Gardens
    by Amy L. Dabbs, Zachary Snipes, Olivia M. Thompson (Editor)
    Paperback: 40 pages
    Publisher: College of Charleston (September 30, 2016)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0986187135
    ISBN-13: 978-0986187131

Textbook Source: Amy Dabbs, Statewide School & Community Gardening Coordinator, Clemson Extension Horticulture
Phone: 843-402-5328

More Information

Contact Allyson Shabel at ams0137@aces.edu or Rudy Pacumbaba at rop0001@aces.edu for more information about this workshop series or other Alabama Extension gardening and landscaping programs. If you need a reasonable accommodation or language access services, contact ams0137@aces.edu or 256-612-6766.

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture 1890 Capacity Building Grants Program.


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