The Carton 2 Garden contest seeks to promotes life skills such as creativity, leadership and teamwork by inviting students to work together to build or enhance their school gardens with repurposed milk or juice cartons. This year's contest focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, sustainability, and health and nutrition, and is awarding prizes totaling $22,500 to 14 schools around the country for their carton garden creations.
Evergreen Packaging, a global provider of fiber-based packaging solutions, together with KidsGardening, have announced the winners of the fourth annual Carton 2 Garden contest. www.carton2garden.com The winner categories include a $5,000 grand prize, three $2,500 specialty prizes, and 10 $1,000 grade level prizes. The three specialty prize winners are awarded for efforts in the aforementioned categories: STEM, the best use of science, technology, engineering, and math lessons in their projects; sustainability, the best demonstration of sustainable practices in their garden creations; and health and nutrition, the best incorporation of lessons on wellness in their projects.
The grand prize and specialty prize winners of the contest are as follows:
Grand Prize Winner – Johnsburg High School (Johnsburg, IL) – Through the use of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities, students at Johnsburg High School organized a community-wide campaign to spread the message that native bees are important and need our help. Their project included creating a "Bee a Pollinator Pal" booth at a local expo to encourage community members to build bee houses and plant more native plants, hosting a coloring contest for elementary school students, developing an informational mural and planting native grass and flower plant seeds in cartons for a future plant sale. Students also engaged in service projects with their local food pantry in recognition of the important role pollinators play in sustaining our food supply. A video about their project, entitled "Follow the Pollinators to Our Garden!" was published to YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hee3oW4cVGk&feature=youtu.be
STEM Winner– Sequoia Union Elementary Ag Charter School (Exeter, CA) – Students completed 10 different STEM-related projects using repurposed milk cartons. Creatively integrated across the curriculum, the activities supported hands-on learning opportunities about sustainable farming practices. To see a video of the projects, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYS_aL7q8KM&feature=youtu.be
Sustainability Winner – Sand Point Elementary (Seattle, WA) – The students at Sand Point Elementary built "The Recycled Pollinator Hotel," a structure designed for a variety of pollinators to seek shelter, nest and reproduce. Through the contest, students learned how living things are connected and the important role of pollinators in food production. For a video of the project, go to https://youtu.be/QosGs30Hd8g
Health and Nutrition Winner – Webb Street School (Gastonia, NC – Incorporating cartons into many different gardening and composting projects, the special needs students at Webb Street School engineered and constructed a Youth Farm Stand to sell their plants and vegetables to community members. Their Carton 2 Garden project, entitled "Climbing Our Way to Success," allowed the students to practice important life skills including teamwork while also learning more about their food systems from seed to table. To watch a video about the project, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1B4qXQrlUs&feature=youtu.be
"It was incredible to see how many of this year's entries focused beyond the students' school and sought to benefit their greater community," says Katie Simmons, marketing director for Evergreen Packaging. "By participating in the Carton 2 Garden contest, students are not only learning about the importance of eco-friendly packaging and practices, but about how to be positive, engaged role models in their neighborhoods and cities as well."
A total of 270 entries were judged on specific criteria, including creativity, incorporation of sustainable materials and visual representation. Classroom groups were required to repurpose at least 100 cartons of any size in their creation, including cartons from the school cafeteria or from home. All entries were judged by the education specialists at KidsGardening
"The Carton 2 Garden Contest allows students to express their creativity and strengthen their leadership abilities all while learning about how to take care of their minds, bodies, communities and planet," says Emily Shipman, executive director of KidsGardening.
Ten additional schools from across the country were recognized for their carton garden creations:
Elementary School Winners (K-5)
Whit Davis Elementary School, Athens, Georgia – "Courtyard Mural"
Aina Haina Elementary School, Honolulu, Hawaii – "Hawaiian Hobbit Hale"
Goessel Elementary School, Goessel, Kansas – "Super Sensational Sensory Garden"
PS147 Isaac Remsen School for Environmental Engineering, Brooklyn, New York – "PS147 Earth Day Project"
Hyde Park Elementary, Denison, Texas – "Tigers' Den"
Middle/High School Winners (6-12)
Luther Burbank Middle School, Los Angeles, California – "Bird Sanctuary"
Sturgis Charter Public School - East, Hyannis, Massachusetts – "Marsh Grass Restoration"
Twin Bridges School, Twin Bridges, Montana – "Rooftop Garden"
Dufur High School, Dufur, Oregon – "Homemade Recycles Hydroponics System"
Omro High School, Omro, Wisconsin – "Vertical Garden and Info-Center"