The Green Plan It Challenge, started by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), gives school students in the U.K., ages 12 to 14, the opportunity to participate in a 10-week project where they rethink the role of green space and develop solutions to horticulture-related problems. It is a prime example of how an industry can work together to invest in engaging the next generation of horticulturists through collaboration with the schools, and one that could be easily implemented in the U.S. industry-wide, or in partnership with other growers and grower-retailers in your area.
RHS put the call out for mentors from across the horticulture industry in the U.K. to work alongside students to support them in achieving their project objectives, and provide valuable career insight and skills development opportunities. The hope is it will also promote important industry connections with the schools. Local schools sign up for the challenge and are then paired with a mentor, who advises the students and gives feedback during the project.
The response to the project has been favorable. More than 900 secondary school students have signed up for the project this year, and several organizations have put their support behind it.
To learn more about the Green Plan It Challenge, email GreenPlanIt@rhs.org.uk.