Here's the Dirt!

Grades 6–8

New teachers must attend the January 31, 2009 Teacher Workshop.
All participating teachers must complete an application.

See what it takes to grow a national park—get down and dirty in the Golden Gate Native Plant Nurseries, where you’ll help NPS, Parks Conservancy, and Presidio Trust staff grow native plants that will be used in habitat restoration. A box filled with fun, pre-visit activities prepares your students for their nursery experience. On-site, students engage in a variety of nursery tasks, including transplanting, composting, seed cleaning, and plant identification. Not only will your students learn about the environmental value of native plants, seed dispersal, plant diversity, and plant adaptation, they will also forge valuable connections to their neighborhood national park.


Here's the Dirt utilizes a student-centered learning approach. Lessons are organized so students can build on the knowledge they have already gained. Each activity, indoors and outside, is based on helping students achieve science education standards.

  • Pre-visit activities involve students in games and videos that develop an understanding of ecosystems, ability to identify specific indigenous plants, and appreciation of different historic land uses.
  • A field experience in a native plant nursery engages students in learning stations that cover different elements of the nursery's growth cycle, such as seed cleaning, sowing seeds, transplanting seedlings, composting, tending a demonstration garden or nursery maintenance. Post-visit activities reinforce scientific concepts through Environmental Jeopardy, creation of an herbal salve using indigenous or exotic plants, or the propagation of plants in the classroom.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


(415) 561-4700
Pacific West Region Information Center (415) 561-4700 Special Event & Commercial Film Permits (415) 561-4300

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