Student and Teachers

The Hort provides programs that connect students throughout their academic careers to plants and the environment. We empower teachers with the theory and practice they need to integrate horticultural literacy into their students’ experience, regardless of the school’s access to outdoor space.

Why We Care

Young people spend the majority of their days in school where learning priorities are predetermined and do not include horticultural literacy. Yet research shows that time spent with plants and gardens enriches one’s academic experience in essential ways: better focus, heightened motivation, improved sense of self, teamwork, community, and parental involvement. When students get their hands in the earth, their social and emotional needs are met and they become more resilient to life’s challenges. 


For more than 25 years, The Hort has built gardens and provided education programs in school settings. These programs have evolved to include a broad approach to improve academic learning, encourage better eating habits, expand, environmental/climate awareness, and motivate youth to advocate for environmental, social and food equity. Since Covid-19 disrupted the learning environment and put students under significantly more generalized anxiety, we have incorporated additional therapeutic horticulture elements into our classroom practice. Therapeutic horticulture is known to positively influence students’ emotions and sense of themselves. 

The Hort is a contracted vendor of the New York City Department of Education. Our student lessons meet all current national, state, and city learning standards. Our teacher trainings are accredited by ASPDP offers NYC educators in-service courses which teachers can count for A+ or P credit toward salary differential and towards the New York State (NYS) 100 hours of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) requirement. All courses are aligned with the Danielson Framework for Teaching and the NYC DOE’s Equity for All priority. 

We partner with K-12 school administrators and teachers as well as afterschool providers to build low-cost, low maintenance garden spaces in school yards, courtyards, classrooms, and on rooftops. Using a proprietary curriculum developed over the years by our staff educators, horticultural therapists, and professional gardeners, we provide 10-20 on-site classes to students at each school. We also host field trips and teacher trainings at Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park Greenhouse and Education Center in Harlem. At the Center, students and teachers experience hands-on activities with plants, cooking, and gardening in our classroom, working greenhouse, and expansive learning garden. You can find more information on the Greenhouse and Education Center HERE

Reach and Results

  • Every school year, our education team directly impacts approximately 5,000 students and 100 teachers in 30 schools throughout New York City.
  • Last year, we installed and maintained 20 school garden spaces.
  • We provided 800 direct contact hours at the schools, community centers, and afterschool programs we partner with, and invited nearly 1000 students to field trips at the Greenhouse and Education Center.

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