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School Garden Professonial Learning Series 

These Saturday morning sessions (times vary) will be hands-on opportunities to expand your students' outdoor learning experiences with STEM and science activities. Each session features different instructors and some are grade level-specific. Register through ENGAGE.

Scroll down to learn more. 

Fernbank Science Center

Spring 2019 Course Schedule

2/9/19 Drones in the Garden: Incorporating Technology into Outdoor Learning 

Level: Middle and High
Instructors: Tixie Fowler, DeKalb Soil and Water Conservation District; Nate Lewis, President, Skyworks Aerial Solutions
Date: Saturday, February 9 2019
Time: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Location: Fernbank Science Center
Capacity: 20 teachers
Register: ENGAGE # 21555

Drones are fantastic flying robots full of amazing technologies. Farmers, scientists and environmental engineers use them to collect data, create maps, do mass calculations, manage bio controls and much more. In this interactive workshop designed to creatively teach middle and high school standards for Science & Engineering Practices, Math and Language Arts, educators will gain hands-on experience flying real drones, gain access to resources, and develop an exciting Problem-Based Learning (PBL) project that leverages school gardens and campus landscapes for outdoor and in-classroom learning. Teachers who complete assigned homework can earn a drone for their classroom.

3/9/19 Bugs: friends or foes in the school garden?

Level: K-12
Instructor: Doug Hamby, Fernbank Science Center
Date: Saturday, March 9 2019
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11 a.m.
Location: Fernbank Science Center
Capacity: 18 teachers
Register: ENGAGE #21556 

Bugs! Love them or hate them, they are a fact of life in the school garden. In actuality, “True Bugs” are just one of many Orders in Class Insecta. Insects play crucial roles in ecosystems and the school garden can take advantage of this by creating habitat for beneficial insects. Beneficial insects provide pest control and pollination services; gardens can’t thrive without them.

Insects can also wreak havoc in a garden, devouring precious crops (or biting and stinging us). This workshop will introduce common ‘good’ and ‘bad’ garden insects and cover strategies for managing the ‘bad’ and attracting the ‘good.’ Between native bees, butterflies, and parasitic wasps, insects are conspiring to help out in the garden as long as we meet their basic needs.

This class will cover topics that link to several Life Science standards, including life cycles, food webs, ecosystems, and classification. Participants will make their very own ‘bug hotel’ to attract beneficial insects to their school gardens. 

Growing Up Wild

4/13/19: Growing Up WILD Workshop 

Level: PreK-1st grade
Instructor: Cindy Reittinger, Fernbank Science Center
Date: Saturday, April 13, 2019
Time: 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Location: Fernbank Science Center
Capacity: 18 teachers
Register: ENGAGE #21557

Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education curriculum that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and encourages them to explore the world around them. Participating teachers will receive a copy of the activity guide, “Growing Up WILD: Exploring Nature with Young Children” and earn three Bright From the Start credits. The activities in the guide include outdoor explorations, scientific inquiry, art projects, music and movement, reading and math connections and "Healthy Me" extensions.

Pre-registration on ENGAGE is required and registration is limited. Teachers must get a signed letter of support from their principal in order to participate. Registration deadline: March 29, 2019. This workshop is limited to PreK, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers from the DeKalb County School District.

Questions? Contact Cindy Reittinger,, 678/874-7144

5/11/19 Summer Garden Survival Strategies 

Level: K-12
Instructors: Kyla Van Deusen, Fernbank Science Center
Date: Saturday, May 11, 2019
Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Location: Fernbank Science Center
Capacity: 18 teachers 
Register: ENGAGE #21558


When people think about gardens, they often conjure images of the quintessential summer harvest: tomatoes, corn, squash, etc. Most of these are at their peak during June and July. This is no coincidence—the school year was originally scheduled around harvest times when children were needed to help out on their family farms. For modern school gardens, however, this schedule can be problematic. This workshop will cover several strategies for shepherding your school garden through the summer, including summer programming, volunteer management, community partnerships, low-maintenance planting, and mulching beds for summer.

Workshop participants will receive cover crop seeds and leave with a plan for summer.

Need More Information?

Contact Kyla Van Deusen at or 678-874-7138