At Georgia-Pacific, one of the goals we set for ourselves this year is to listen and engage even more on the subject of environmental education. We’ve been a long-time supporter in this area, but we wanted to hear more specifically from teachers about things like what resources they would find most useful, and what they’re currently doing in their classrooms to teach environmental concepts.

Recently, we collaborated with Lisa Dabbs, education consultant and blogger at Teaching with Soul, to kick off a Twitter chat with teachers on conservation in the classroom. Given that Earth Day was around the corner, we thought it would be a perfect time to discuss how their schools might be incorporating environmental education, what lesson plans they may be using and what seems to make environmental concepts “stick” with students.

Teachers from across the country and beyond participated and we were excited to hear about their fantastic creativity and ingenuity. Ideas ranged from one teacher who started a school-wide recycling program on his own, to students composting food from the cafeteria and planting gardens, to students weighing the trash they generated for a week.

We were also inspired to create an Earth Day lesson plan contest to reward the innovative thinking by all the passionate educators out there teaching about conservation. Today, we’re excited to announce the first, second and third-place winners! They were chosen by an outside panel of expert educators who judged each lesson plan for its creativity, goals and content.

The three winners for the #GPEarthDay contest are:

· Grand Prize: Liza Keifer, The Colony, TX (Plant a Tree Save the Planet)

· Second Place: Mary Howard, Grand Island, NY (Earth Day QR code Scavenger Hunt)

· Third Place: Kate Bailin, Whitehouse, Ohio (Recycle-Reuse-Reduce)

Our grand prize winner will receive a tablet, a $500 Staples gift card and Georgia-Pacific products for her classroom. Our second and third place winners will each receive a $250 Staples gift card and Georgia-Pacific products for their classrooms.

We congratulate the winners for their fantastic submissions and thank all the teachers who participated! Check out our Georgia-Pacific Pinterest board to see some of the lesson plans.

(And don't forget to thank your favorite teacher -- it's Teacher Appreciation Week!)