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Ronnie Simmons
Jan 16, 2020

New “Greenhouse Manual” Released for Educators Across the Nation

Jan 16, 2020 by Ronnie Simmons


Below is a message and news release from a great friend and former FFA member/State Officer from Alabama who is now the Director of Communications at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.  Feel free to reach out to Devin Dotson at the email address listed below for more information (or a pretty darn cool tour of the U.S. Botanic Garden the next time you are in DC!)  He loves FFA and gives FFA credit for his opportunities in DC, so be sure to call on his expertise in your classroom!

Hot off the press! – a greenhouse manual for schools, just in time for planting! As schools prepare for their spring plantings, this manual provides the A – Z  to help teachers, across curriculum, connect students to importance of plants.  See news release and more detailed information below:


For immediate release:

New “Greenhouse Manual” Released for Educators Across the Nation

January 14, 2020

Washington, D.C. – The United States Botanic Garden (USBG), the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), and City Blossoms announce the release of the newly developed “Greenhouse Manual: An Introductory Guide for Educators.”

Across the United States, a growing number of schools are planting gardens, engaging in Farm to School activities, and integrating plant science into the curriculum. Unfortunately, many school greenhouses are underutilized or have only a single knowledgeable and dedicated teacher is enabling their use. The USBG, NCAT, and City Blossoms recognized the need for user-friendly guidance on operating school greenhouses and maximizing their educational potential. To that end, we have developed this free manual for educators wanting to better use new or existing greenhouses for educational purposes. 

“We have developed this manual for educators wanting to use their school greenhouses to advance educational objectives for their students not only in STEM and career technical classes, but also in liberal arts subjects,” said Saharah Moon Chapotin, executive director of the USBG. “We are thrilled to make it widely available free of charge. This useful resource will facilitate transformative learning experiences in schools nationwide while helping students gain an appreciation for the importance of plants.”

The manual clearly and concisely lays out a basic understanding of greenhouses, how to integrate them into lessons, and how to effectively use greenhouses in classroom curricula and out-of-school activities. The manual includes lesson plans as well as basic information on layout and operations of a greenhouse, growing plants (especially during the school year), growing from seed, seedling nutrition, identifying and treatingdisease and pest management in greenhouses, basic budgeting, and succession planting. 

“NCAT has been thrilled to bring our expertise to the efficient and curriculum-based use of educational greenhouses,” said Andy Pressman of NCAT.

“Growing in greenhouses can be so much fun. We’re so excited to share this free manual to help support school and educational greenhouse projects across the country,” said Rebecca Lemos, executive director of City Blossoms.

This resource is available at



Devin Dotson, U.S. Botanic Garden 202.226.4145