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  • 2019 Session Descriptions

    Join us at NCYGS 2019 for peer-led educational sessions on curriculum and pedagogy, program management, garden design, and growing practices.

    2019 Session Descriptions

    NCYGS Session Information

    Please note that this year you do not need to register for the various sessions you plan to attend. Registration for the Symposium will open in April.

    All sessions will be held at the UW Extension Pyle Center.

    Thursday, July 11: Session Block A | Session Block B
    Friday, July 12: Session Block C | Session Block D | Session Block E
    Saturday, July 13: Session Block F | Session Block G


    A1| Growing garden networks for teachers
    Susan Webb | Extension Agent, School and Community Gardens  | University of Florida IFAS Extension | Plant City, FL

    Join us for an innovative session on how organizations can support the teachers that are the designers, builders, planters, and harvesters of school gardens.  The presenters will share research-based best practices for developing teacher-driven garden networks and lessons from working alongside teachers as a support organization.  A case study of the Polk School and Community Garden Association, a UF/IFAS Extension program, will highlight how an inclusive program run by and for teachers helps sustain school gardens over multiple years. Further, we will share from teachers’ perspectives what they see as the benefits and challenges of being part of a garden network.  Attendees will be provided with support materials on starting teacher-driven garden networks.

    A2 | What we learned from funding over 75 schoolyard gardens
    Galen Erickson | Member, Board of Directors | Jeffers Foundation | Plymouth, MN

    The mission of the Jeffers Foundation, “Environmental Stewardship through Education,” is accomplished in part by a program called “A Garden 4 Every School.” In the last few years, the Foundation has given dozens of starter grants to establish schoolyard gardens. In follow-up interviews with principals, teachers, master gardeners and others, we discover what worked… and what didn’t.  This presentation will focus on the diverse partnerships that came together and the unique and interesting directions that some of these projects took. So come with us and let’s tour several dozen Minnesota schoolyard gardens and see how they grow!

    A3 | The Edible Academy: Designing for a Sustainability-Centered Curriculum and Campus
    Annie Novak | Manager of the Edible Academy | The New York Botanical Garden | Bronx, NY
    Toby Adams | Gregory Long Director of the Edible Academy | The New York Botanical Garden | Bronx NY

    After 60+ years in operation, in 2018, the New York Botanical Garden’s Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden re-opened as the Edible Academy, a four season, three-acre campus with expanded organic vegetable gardens, a LEED-Gold certified classroom facility, and doubled audience capacity for 100,000 visitors per year. This session will focus on how the building and campus design inspires the curriculum offered through the Edible Academy’s programs. From workshops for schools to summer camps, from professional learning to special events, learn how your facility can teach best practices for sustainability by creating the infrastructure and inspiration for growing green thumbs.

    A4 | Growing Healthy Kids in Head Start Gardens
    Helen Rortvedt | Executive Director  | KidsGardening | Burlington, VT
    Carol Kauffman Nowlin | Manager of Corporate Responsibility | The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation | Marysville, OH
    Sarah Pounders | Senior Education Specialist | KidsGardening | The Woodlands, TX

    This session will introduce the current initiatives in which the presenting organizations are engaged to encourage the development of garden and farm to early care education programs at Head Start Centers nationwide. We will demonstrate how gardening, and other farm to school/ECE activities, support appropriate child development and Head Start programmatic and early learning standards. Presenters will introduce the benefits of gardening with young children and share how we are collaborating to inspire and support more early childhood education organizations to get growing.  We will offer a list of best management practices for developing sustainable and successful early childhood garden and farm to early care programs and suggestions for getting the whole community involved.

    A5 | Camp TURF - A Summer Horticulture Career Academy
    Dr. Shelley Mitchell | Associate Extension Specialist | Oklahoma State University | Stillwater, OK

    A horticulture summer academy for Oklahoma high school students, particularly from low-income, minority, and/or first-generation families, was started from scratch in 2010. Over the course of two weeks each summer, up to 25 students entering 9th or 10th grade live on a college campus, do hands-on activities in a wide range of horticulture areas, and explore careers in horticulture and landscape architecture. We will share the logistics of recruiting, legal waivers and releases, daily schedules and activities, efficient use of dollars, the outcomes of the academy (short- and long-term), and finding funding past the initial grant period.

    A6 | Play, Laugh and Learn:  The Making of a Children’s Garden
    Cindy Tyler | Owner | Terra Design Studios | Pittsburgh, PA

    Bring your popcorn, settle in and enjoy a compelling documentary that captures the entire design and construction process for the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio.  The Children’s Garden opened in May 2018, but filming began years earlier so that the complete process could be recorded for the benefit of those who wish to create their own interactive family destinations.   Six “chapters” of the film highlight desired impacts, pre-planning activities, choosing an experienced designer, inspiration for the design, steps in the planning and construction phases, and finally, opening day!  There will be time for questions and discussion following the film.

    A7 | GROW Girl Hike: Family Exploration in an Urban Botanic Garden
    Cameron Barlow | Garden Program Specialist | The Botanical Research Institute of Texas  | Fort Worth, TX

    Come on a “Hike with GROW Girl” and learn about a new family program at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden designed to instill a passion for nature everywhere. Along the ½ mile hike, families use tools from their Botanist Backpack to complete activities and by the end of the hike, participants have learned about a new area of conservation and ways that they can contribute to the protection of our natural resources. This program has also been adapted into a field trip and educators will learn about our program’s successes as well as challenges so that they can easily adapt this model for their school/organization.


    B1 | Curriculum resources and engaging partners to support school gardens
    Jessica Pollitt Hudson | Youth Health Educator |  WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program | Charleston, WV

    In this session attendees will explore resources to support, enhance, and help sustain their garden projects.  Through taking a multidisciplinary perspective, projects engage interested partners from a variety of sectors.  Creating a web of partners with a variety of interests (healthy eating, pollinators, STEM, etc.) helps to ensure the garden is a comprehensive space where cross-curricular learning can take place.  During the session a graphic organizer will be utilized to brainstorm a variety of partners to support site specific project goals.

    B2 | Beekeeping with Youth
    Jennica Skoug | Goodman Youth Farm Manager | Community GroundWorks | Madison,  WI

    This session will begin with participants exploring the fascinating world of honeybees using a student-centered, inquiry-based approach.  Attendees will experience hands-on activities, from learning about pollination through play to observing bees at work in the hive.  Finally, staff from Community GroundWorks’ Goodman Youth Farm will share learnings from six years of working with kids in and around their on-site beehive. Topics will include tools and techniques, planning programs for a variety of group needs, and stories from the field.

    B3 | Student-Run Farmers Market: Opportunities for STEAM & 21th Century Learning
    Marney Coleman | Sustainability Coordinator | Academy for Global Citizenship |  Chicago, IL

    This workshop will focus on student-run farmers’ markets as an extension of garden-based learning and a platform for students to develop 21st century learning and STEAM skills.  We’ll explore the logistical hurdles to implementing a student-run market, connections to the school garden program and curricular areas, and the benefits of student-leadership and entrepreneurship. The remaining portion of the workshop will give participants the chance to reflect and critically think on how a student farmers market could be implemented in their institution.

    B4 | Classroom Hydroponics-Bringing the Garden Indoors
    Sue Cormier | Teacher Training and Curriculum Development Manager  | Green Our Planet | Las Vegas, NV

    This session is an introduction to easy classroom hydroponics and is for teachers that are interested in using a hydroponics system as a project-based learning tool that is healthy and productive. We’ll start with an overview of hydroponics and how it differs from traditional plant production.  This session will also cover logistics – from germinating seeds to harvesting from a hydroponics system. Teachers will discuss classroom application and collaborate with one another to design and build a classroom-friendly hydroponics system out of recycled and readily available materials.

    B5 | Cool Tools: An Essential Toolkit for Plant Educators
    Lee Coykendall | Senior Education Specialist | United States Botanic Garden | Washington, DC
    Helen Rortvedt | Executive Director | Kids Gardening | Burlington, VT
    Tracey Friday |  Director; Teacher Education Specialist  | The BRIT Seed School | Ft. Worth, TX
    Brian Emerson | Research Specialist/Trial Manager | University of Wisconsin Horticulture-Urban and Regional Food Systems | Madison, WI

    Whether teaching, training volunteers, exciting a board of directors, or wooing a potential funder, we are constantly looking for ways to help people have those 'aha' moments to better understand and fall in love with the plant world.  The presenters will share their fool proof tools to help persons of all interests and entry points understand how fun and cool the plant world is. This workshop has something for educators of all levels.  Through hands-on experiments, participants will play with tools and work collaboratively to explore content while constructing resources to bring back to share with new audiences.

    B6 | Identifying Gaps in Accessibility: Strategies to Cultivate Equity in Programming
    Kim North | Youth & Family Programs Manager | Olbrich Botanical Gardens | Madison, WI
    Sarah Ellis | Youth & Family Programs Coordinator | Olbrich Botanical Gardens | Madison, WI

    We all strive to create meaningful opportunities for all children to connect with the natural world. However, it is sometimes difficult to recognize physical, cultural, emotional, and other barriers that limit a child’s ability to connect with nature. How do we identify gaps in accessibility to ensure equity in programming? Through examining the various definitions of diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, participants will expand their scope, understanding, and practical application of these concepts. Join us to build personal strategies to evaluate accessibility gaps in programming.

    B7 | The Schoolyard as Living Laboratory – Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity
    David Ropa | Science Teacher & Garden Coordinator | Spring Harbor Middle School | Madison, WI
    Jen Vena | ELA Teacher | Spring Harbor Middle School |  Madison, WI
    Katie Sinkewicz | Art & Technology Teacher | Spring Harbor Middle School | Madison, WI

    Spring Harbor Middle School teachers have been actively gardening with students for the past 15 years. The gardens are supported by an on-site, sustainable greenhouse, in which students monitor variables that influence growth rates and evaluate best practices. In this workshop, attendees will be able to rotate through three mini-workshops to see how young people identify and monitor the level of biodiversity in the environment in a variety of ways. Teachers will also share an interdisciplinary unit in which students work in small teams to develop a new food product concept based on one or more ingredients growing in the school gardens.


    C1 | Proven Tips, Tricks & Hacks for Growing Sustainable Garden Programs
    Randy Seagraves | Curriculum Director | National Junior Master Gardener Program | College Station, TX

    Why do some school garden projects thrive while others fail? This session will reveal proven tips, tricks, and hacks to growing long term sustainability your school/youth garden program.   Attendees will learn successful ideas for generating revenue, strategies for equipping teachers, structure for empowering students to be active leaders, and how to best utilize youth/school/community volunteers to assist in program implementation/growth. Session will also overview how a model partnership is supporting implementation of the research & evidence-based Learn, Grow Eat & Go! curriculum in Houston Independent School District.

    C2 | Farm to Toast: Growing, Milling, and Baking Wheat at Local Schools
    Bennett Rock | Garden Education Coordinator | Explore Ecology | Santa Barbara, CA< /I>

    Join us to learn how school food service professionals and garden educators can break bread together through an exciting program called Farm to Toast. This workshop will highlight cross-curricular activities in school with wheat gardens, explore the process of partnering with food service providers to apply for grants, and demonstrate how school food service providers are moving to a cooked-from-scratch model by baking fresh bread in cafeterias. Participants will learn best practices for the full spectrum experience of planting and milling wheat and baking bread with students.

    C3 | Badger Rock Middle School and Urban Farming
    Sarah Karlson | Farmer-in-Residence | Badger Rock Middle School/Community Ground Works/Center for Resilient Cities | Madison, WI

    Badger Rock Middle School is a public project-based charter school with a focus on urban agriculture.  The Badger Rock Urban Farm is a living laboratory with a hoop house, a greenhouse, water catchment systems, chickens and honeybees.  The school’s agriculture focus gives students opportunities to contribute to their community by providing a weekly farm stand at the Badger Rock Community Market, serving seasonal dishes they have made in garden class, and selling handmade value added products.  Come learn about this unique space where students learn agriculture by doing real work in their community.

    C4 | Curing Plant-Blindness in Kids – Expanded Tools and Resources
    Susan E. Yoder | Executive Director | Seed Your Future |  Martinsville, IN

    Plants are everywhere — yet plants are nowhere on most people’s minds. This plant-blindness is especially rampant in kids. Seed Your Future and its more than 150 partners launched BLOOM! plant-based curriculum with Scholastic in 2018.  New activities, lesson plans, and resources show kids the power of plants and the rewarding careers in the green collar world. Session attendees will receive those resources and we’ll also strategize together about what else is needed to help you inspire kids toward a life-long love of plants and potentially a green collar career.

    C5 | Lettuce Laugh in the Garden: How humor cultivates success
    Helen Rortvedt | Executive Director | KidsGardening | Burlington, VT 
    Melinda Myers | Gardening expert, author, TV/radio host & columnist 
    Emma Biggs | Garden Communicator, Student | Toronto , Ontario
    Steven Biggs | Garden Communicator, author | Toronto, Ontario

    Many garden-based educators express that they have a fear of failing in the garden and letting others down. Humor can help! In this panel discussion, we’ll share proven ways and techniques on how to employ humor in the garden and why it’s key to increasing retention and breaking down barriers.   Panelists will share, from their (often hilarious) personal experiences, tales of common gardening woes, and how they overcame them with a healthy dose of humor. They will discuss how humor can lead to a deeper understanding of, and engagement with, complex and challenging issues, ranging from climate change to declining pollinator populations.

    C6 | Horticultural therapy for inclusive nature education
    Kay Knight | Coordinator, Horticultural Therapy Services | Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, IL

    Inclusive classrooms are increasingly common in public schools, and general education teachers are looking for new techniques to accommodate IEPs.  Research studies demonstrate that nature-based instructional experiences can support and benefit inclusive education. Horticultural therapy (HT) can be a bridge between classroom education and nature-based curriculum, as it is the professional use of plants and related activities to achieve wellness goals - including developmental and educational objectives. Attendees will learn about HT, strategies for incorporating nature into IEP goals, and data to justify nature-based experiences for all learners.

    C7 | Developing a design and fundraising tool for a children’s garden
    Dr. Lolly Tai | Professor | Temple University | Jenkintown, PA

    This session details a two-day event held at a botanical garden to develop a design concept and a fundraising tool for a new children’s garden. With help from an expert in children’s garden design, a full-day design charrette was held with a team of local landscape architects, garden administrators, staff, and board members. The session began with an examination of the site, discussions about the mission and the master plan, followed by an intense hands-on design session. The team collaborated on the plan to develop a professional concept rendering, unveiled later that day at a special event dinner. Garden members and donors were energized about the design and excited to proceed with the next steps.


    D1 | Exploring Phenomena in the Garden: Connecting to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    Dr. Norm Lownds | Associate Professor and Curator |MSU 4-H Children's Gardens | East Lansing, MI

     Come explore how to use garden phenomena as the basis for science investigations that are NGSS based and integrate NGSS science and engineering practices.  Enjoy a "walk" through the Michigan 4-H Children's Garden while we examine investigations that we have developed and how you can use those in your school and garden.  We’ll examine ways to integrate technology to enhance and expand the learning and engage students deeply.  We will also take some time to explore the process of science, its shape and what that means for engaging students in meaningful science learning.

    D2 | Dirt Girls to the Rescue! Gender Equity and Empowerment
    Dr. Carrie Strohl  | The School Garden Doctor | Napa, CA

    Dirt Girls is a longstanding afterschool club expanding STEM opportunities for female youth through environmental horticulture. In this session, I will outline the conditions for establishing a culture of inclusion by comparing “typical” approaches in garden-based learning with an apprenticeship model. In addition, I will describe research-based approaches for empowering girls. Participants will identify a core challenge or problem with their program or organization and then, through facilitated discussion, brainstorm pathways for promoting career development, leadership roles, and/or resilience strategies through taking an equity-focused stance.

    D3 | Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden: Leading the next generation of scientists
    Sara Zajic | Explorer Coordinator | Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden | Coral Gables, FL
    Jamie Anderson | Magnet School Program Coordinator | Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden | Coral Gables, FL

    The education programs at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden have been breaking educational barriers since 1980.  In this session, we examine how Fairchild’s strong partnerships have revolutionized how students learn about real-world plant science in the nation’s fifth-largest school district. This collaborative effort has grown to include innovative and next-generation learning initiatives, notably the country’s first ever botany-focused magnet schools.   Learn how Fairchild’s local connectivity has broadened its reach to strengthen engagement, deepening relationships with national partners such as NASA and ultimately reaching more than 125,000 students annually.

    D4 | Keyhole Gardening - A Building Block to Sustainability
    Joan Calder | Horticulturalist | Santa Barbara, CA

    Keyhole gardening can be a fun and sustainable community-building project for kids and families using very little resources. Keyhole Gardens use a number of layers to retain moisture and nourish the soil, making it more productive than a conventional garden. A built-in composting basket replenishes the soil’s nutrients as well. This session will explain how to site, design, and build the garden and will dig into the many benefits of a Keyhole Garden.

    D5 | Funding, Grants, and Effective Partnerships
    Tristana Pirkl | Senior Programs Manager | Whole Kids Foundation | Austin, TX

    All of the most successful garden programs need money, community support, and partnerships to support them into the future. This workshop will walk through strategies in seeking support for a garden program, focusing on grants and community partnerships. We will dive into grants as an option, sharing tips on how to write a successful proposal that effectively communicates about the program and clearly shares the needs for support. We will also share tips and strategies to gain support through effective and lasting community partnerships.

    D6 | Beyond the Field Trip: School-farm partnerships reimagined
    Amy Jester | Farmer/Educator | Hidden Savanna Farm | Verona, WI

    Partnering with a small family farm can be a mutually beneficial relationship that goes beyond a simple tour of the farm. In this session, we will explore the ways that a small family farm and a school have worked together. Hidden Savanna Farm works closely with the school (toddler - 8th grade) to establish programs in the classroom and on the farm. These model programs build a connection between the students and their families to the farm and the surrounding community and provide real-world opportunities for learning about sustainable systems in action.

    D7 | Growing Collaboration to Support your School or Community Garden
    Briana Villarrubia | Green Schoolyards Coordinator | Openlands | Chicago, IL
    Danielle Russell | Community Conservation Associate | Openlands | Chicago, IL

    Collaboration is key when keeping your school or community garden healthy! Come learn about the Openlands’ Bilingual Garden three-workshop series for school and community gardeners. 'Organizing your Garden Team' focuses on recruiting and engaging people to be a part of the garden, making sure the necessary roles are filled and organized. 'Vegetable Garden Basics' offers information on how to start and maintain a thriving vegetable garden and 'Stewarding your Garden' digs into the logistics of keeping gardens healthy, weed free and watered throughout the growing season. Each workshop provides school or community garden teams with the resources they need to successfully grow and sustain their gardens.


    E1 | Using Games and Activities to Teach About Plants and Ecology
    Greg Bisbee | Biology educator | Arrowhead Union High School | Hartland, WI

     It is no secret that students love games and labs!  Attendees will learn games that have been used in the high school classroom--biology and advanced ecology--for many years.  Come learn about three of the most popular games - Jenga, "It's a Jungle Out There," and "The Plant Game" – and how they are used to teach plant concepts.  We’ll also look at three hands-on labs that are guaranteed to have students engaged in learning.

    E2 | Seed Saving and Youth Garden Programs
    Cheryl DeWelt | Environmental Education Manager | Madison Children's Museum | Madison, WI

    We will take an in depth look at educating for sustainability and protecting plant biodiversity through youth educational programming involving the gardens and seed saving. In this session, we will learn about gardening on a green rooftop and we will take a closer look at collecting, preserving, saving, and sharing seeds. We will make homemade seed paper, seed balls, and explore other ways to share seeds. We will investigate planting oyster mushrooms and explore activities children can do with things that grow in the garden.

    E3 | The Monarch Mission: Empowring Students to Improve Habitat for Monarchs
    Elizabeth Soper | Director K-12 Education | National Wildlife Federation | Stowe, VT

    Since 1996, over 8000 schools across the nation have been certified under the National Wildlife Federation’s Schoolyard Habitats program - assessing, creating and restoring wildlife habitat on school grounds while providing outdoor classrooms for learning. Recently, NWF developed a PreK-12 curriculum “The Monarch Mission:  Empowering Students to Improve Habitat for Monarchs,” to provide students with project-based experiences as they learn the importance of pollinators, develop plans, and implement solutions.  Workshop participants will take part in a snapshot experience where they will conduct several activities from this curriculum; all will receive a copy of the curriculum to take home.

    E4 | Supporting English Language Learners in Garden Education
    Whitney Cohen | Education Director / Lecturer  | Life Lab / UC Santa Cruz | Santa Cruz, CA
    Maria Moreno | Multicultural Outreach Specialist | University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Planning & Landscape Architecture | Madison, WI

    In this workshop, participants will experience a short garden education lesson taught entirely in Spanish. The lesson will first be taught without any scaffolding, or support structures, for non-fluent Spanish speakers. We’ll debrief the experience to develop a sense of empathy for the daily experiences of English Language Learners (ELLs) in our programs.  The lesson will be presented again, this time richly scaffolded to support everyone. We’ll debrief this second iteration, with a focus on specific strategies that helped people with varying levels of Spanish understand and engage in the lesson.   Finally, participants will be introduced to a tool to apply these strategies to support ELLs in any lesson.

    E5 | Here We Grow! Curriculum Resources for Successful School Garden Experiences
    Denise Stewardson | Extension Assistant Professor | 
    Utah Agriculture in the Classroom/Utah State University | Logan, UT

    This session is for educators—both formal and nonformal—interested in engaging students in a gardening project. Practical information will be presented about indoor and outdoor gardening with children including gardening basics, funding opportunities, theme gardens, food safety, and art in the garden. Participants will engage in a variety of hands-on activities designed to integrate a gardening project with core curriculum standards in science, social studies, and nutrition. Dozens of easily implemented, online resources—classroom lessons (all free), kits, books, activities—will be shared so that participants can provide relevant, meaningful garden experiences for youth.

    E6 | Regional School Garden Support Systems

    John Fisher | Director of Programs and Partnerships (Life Lab); Co-founder (National SGSO Network) | Life Lab and National School Garden Support Organization Network | Santa Cruz, CA
    Renata Solan | Communications Director | Wisconsin School Garden Network and Community GroundWorks |  Madison, WI

    School garden support organizations vary in the kinds of support they offer, the ways they connect with garden programs across their region, and the number of gardens that they support.  Through facilitated small group discussions and by sharing case studies, participants will learn innovative ways that organizations and networks can support school garden programs across a region.   Representatives from established school garden support organizations and participants will share models for training educators, funding garden programs, instruction, creating resilient networks, measuring impact, and storytelling.

    E7 | Undergraduate Engagement in a Public School Garden Program
    Dr. Amy Goodall | Associate Professor |  James Madison University | Harrisonburg, VA
    Paul Goodall | Professor Emeritus | James Madison University | Harrisonburg, VA

    Since first implementing a school garden in 2012, each year James Madison University Geographic Science undergraduate students create learning tools designed for increasing elementary student interests in sustaining the gardens and its ecosystem. Join us to learn how the undergraduates engage with public school students in the gardens and about the additional benefits for the undergraduates, the public schools and university faculty, and the elementary students.


    F1 | Food Forests for Schools
    Eddie Recinos | Senior Program Manager | The Education Fund | Miami, FL
    Debi LaBelle | Program Manager | The Education Fund | Miami, FL
    Jamie O'Neill | Executive Director | Grow La Crosse | La Crosse, WI

     This session will define the food forests model and their place in an expanded role of outdoor learning spaces in education. We will introduce the basic design elements that are included in all of our food forests such as: banana circles, mandala gardens, keyhole gardens and learning stations. We will go over the five layers of production that are managed in a food forest. We will also explore food forest design and installation and attendees will try their hand at a food forest design and plant selection activity.

    F2 | Build Small-Space Gardens while Teaching Life Skills
    Emma Biggs | Garden Communicator, Student | Toronto , Ontario
    Steven Biggs | Garden Communicator, author | Toronto, Ontario

    Creating a garden is an opportunity to teach basic building and problem-solving skills. Join 14-year-old Emma and her dad as they share the story of their small-space garden. The challenge of fitting 130+ tomato plants, herbs, and vegetables into their urban garden has forced Emma to problem-solve and find solutions.  Come learn about building cold frames, constructing wicking beds, forming hypertufa planters, and more. Attendees will get garden project ideas that they can use with youth to problem-solve while implementing green practices.

    F3 | Low Cost, Low Tech, Big Impact!
    Doug Stevenson | Highfield Discovery Garden Manager | Great Parks of Hamilton County | Cincinnati, OH

    Attendees will learn how to implement low tech, low cost features in their gardens that will have a huge impact on guests without impacting the environment or their budget. Hear how Glenwood Garden’s Highfield Discovery Garden uses these types of attractions to instill basic concepts of gardening, learning, and creativity. We will share a dozen examples and how guests of all ages interact with them in self-guided, educator-led, or spontaneous way. Ideas on how to adapt these special features to their unique space will be provided throughout the presentation. Attendees can test out and/or brainstorm a low tech, low cost feature and learn how they can be adapted to any garden or facility.

    F4 | Beyond Binaries: Gender Diversity and Garden Education
    Kavanah Anderson | Education Program Coordinator | Duke Gardens | Durham, NC

    Come hear how educators at Duke Gardens have incorporated an appreciation of gender diversity into volunteer trainings, camps, and school programs. Learning about gender as a spectrum can prepare students to understand themselves and the world around them by building knowledge and capacity for critical thinking and understanding complex concepts. Being prepared to solve environmental challenges and build a socially, environmentally, and economically sustainable future requires thinking beyond categories, creating new possibilities with an open mind, and not repeating traditional patterns that created the existing systems.

    F5 | Growing Strong School Gardens: A Citywide Garden Landscape Sustainability Evaluation
    Amy Hoover | Graduate Student | The University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX

    In an effort to better understand the challenges impacting existing school gardens across the Greater Austin area, the City of Austin, along with the Austin School Garden Network and the University of Texas at Austin, surveyed faculty and staff of 100 schools with gardens to assess their challenges and identify the most effective strategies for sustainability. This session will consider the barriers to garden sustainability and strategies to overcome these barriers from development to implementation and maintenance. We will also discuss possibilities of models for city and district collaboration with educators to better support and sustain existing school garden programs.

    F6 | Growing Future Leaders: East Orange Library Community Garden
    Lisa O'Shaughnessy | Children's Librarian | East Orange Public Library | South Orange, NJ

    The East Orange Library is growing future community and environmental leaders through its community garden.  From May through October, children and teens gather at the local library to plant and maintain a garden.  Through the help of our community partners, children and teens participate in weekly lessons which teach valuable leadership and community engagement skills while exploring scientific topics.  The children and teens also work toward several goals including presenting engaging activities at the local farmer’s market, creating a community art piece, and entering the annual 4H Competition.  This session will examine successful community partnerships, give examples and show highlights of student activities, and discuss ways to grow future leaders in your community through gardening.

    F7 | Once Upon a Time... growing sustainable bookworms & heirloom traditions
    Patti DeLotell | Director of Zorniger Environmental Lab Greenhouse & Gardens | The Miami Valley School | Dayton , OH

    At Miami Valley School's Zorniger Environmental Lab Greenhouse & Gardens, our seven years of gardens have produced myriad stories (of all genres)!  Bring your joy of storytelling to this session where you will hear how our garden celebrates successes big and small by incorporating them with great kid literature. Learn how you, too, can build a celebration around great books... and great seeds. In the words of Cicero, "If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need." Attendees to this session can expect to leave with books, recipes, ideas for growing lifelong sustainable readers & gardeners... and spectacular stories!


    G1 | Websites to Build Sustainable Garden Programs for All Ages
    Pam Hosimer | Nutrition Educator and Master Gardener | University of Maryland Extension | Damascus, MD

    Come discover incredible online resources that will make it simple to generate lots of learning and enthusiasm in your school garden, farm to school program, and environmental lessons. We will cover topics directly applicable to active learning and that support innovative sustainable gardening curriculum and practices such as citizen science, pollinator decline, soil health, environmental issues. Materials will appeal to both formal and informal educators and can be used in both standards-based and extracurricular programs for diverse audiences. 

    G2 | Collaborating with Youth Agencies to Provide Outreach Horticulture Programs
    Kelle Hartman | Children & Family Educator | Green Bay Botanical Garden | Green Bay, WI
    Linda Gustke | Education Manager | Green Bay Botanical Garden | Green Bay, WI

    In 2015 Green Bay Botanical Garden developed curriculum-based outreach programs to expand its programming season.  Discover how the Garden connected with school district curriculum leaders, area school teachers, and other youth agencies to develop and trial these new programs.  We’ll share lessons learned from the development, trialing, and revision processes.  We’ll also discuss how we incorporated differing educator perspectives to best suit the students’ needs.  Participants will explore the hands-on elements within these outreach lessons.

    G3 | School Gardens are For the Birds: Bonding with Youth Birders
    Dr. Carrie Strohl  | The School Garden Doctor | Napa, CA

    Birdwatching is an excellent way to learn about habitat, seasonal cycles, interdependence, and human impact and schoolyards and gardens are ideal locations for birding. In this session, I will share strategies for engaging young birders, including lessons, tips, tools, and resources. Participants will practice a few birdwatching basics. Then, we will explore kid-friendly ways to build, place, and watch feeders designed to attract certain bird species. Finally, we’ll learn how an afterschool birding club became involved in a local Junior Audubon group.

    G4 | But They're Teenagers! : Successfully Teaching a High-School Horticulture Class
    Kristina Runde | Science Teacher | Fort Collins High School | Fort Collins, CO

    This workshop will feature guidelines for successfully facilitating student-led discussions on topics such as pollinator health and agricultural sustainability. Participants are encouraged to share their experiences working with teens and will have the opportunity to try out some hands-on activities used in the presenter's classroom. This workshop is geared not only toward classroom teachers, but also education coordinators in environments such as community gardens, local parks, and similar settings.

    G5 | Soil: a recycling center below our feet
    Dr. Veronica Justen | Professor of Crop Science | UW-River Falls | River Falls, WI

    Soils are alive with a variety of organisms that recycle nutrients, water and gases. This session will discuss some of these recycling processes and demonstrate activities that allow students to explore the recycling power of soils and marvel at the world beneath their feet. Activities exhibited will include “Soil your Undies", soil breathing, earthworm monitoring, and the teabag test.

    G6 | Using Literature and Garden Education Across the Curriculum
    Sonya Harris | Founder/CEO/Educator |  The Bullock Garden Project, Inc. | Woolwich Township, NJ

    Have a school garden, but are unsure how to incorporate it into the K-3 curriculum?  Using picture books, these presenters have developed lessons which are taught during literacy periods or during an afterschool/garden club read-aloud.  We’ll discuss the lesson development process then dig into two picture books that cover topics like environmental awareness, pollinator protection, and economics.  Participants will interact with accompanying activities in stations and will receive the lesson plans and resource lists to implement either or both of these lessons on their own.  Three lucky participants will receive copies of both books!

    G7 | Connecting Pollination to Food through Hands-on Exploration and Service Learning
    Kassia Rudd | Washington County Programs Coordinator | Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom | Hillsboro, OR

    To teach about pollinators, you first have to understand them. This session will discuss gardening for pollinators, identification of native pollinators and their preferred plants, the mechanics and importance of pollination, and tips and tricks for teaching students about pollinators.  Attendees will participate in a flower dissection, cross-pollination activity, and an outdoor excursion to investigate local pollinators and their plant preferences. We will also share teaching resources and discuss opportunities for service learning through citizen/community science. You do not need to have a school garden to benefit from this workshop!