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  • 2016 Session Descriptions

    Columbia, South Carolina July 13-16, 2016

    2016 Session Descriptions

    Find what interests you most

    If you attended NCYGS 2016, you have access to session handouts and presentations from the symposium.  You will need to log in or create an account on our website to access these materials.  Thank you and we hope to see you at NCYGS 2017 July 12-15 in the Greater Portland, Oregon & Vancouver, Washington area!


    Please note that this year you do not need to register for the various sessions you plan to attend. Register for the Symposium now, and select sessions while you are at the Symposium.

    All sessions will be held at the Symposium headquarters, the Columbia Marriott, with the exception of the "C" block sessions. "C" block sessions will be held at Heathwood Hall as part of the symposium excursion, which is included with registration for Thursday July 14.

    Thursday, July 14: Session Block A, 9:30am-10:30am | Session Block B, 10:45am-11:45am | Session Block C, 3:15pm-4:45pm
    Friday, July 15: Session Block D, 9:15am-10:15am | Session Block E, 10:45am-12:15pm
    Saturday, July 16: Session Block F, 9:00am-10:00am | Session Block G, 10:45am-12:15pm


    A1 | The Gardens at Drew: The Model School Market Garden Program

    Michael Craig | Special Education Teacher/Horticulture Program Instructor | Charles Drew Transition Center, Detroit Public Schools | Plymouth, MI

    This wide-ranging session will discuss the creation and management of a school market garden program, drawing on the presenter’s experiences at the Charles Drew Transition Center, a unique post-secondary vocational center. Topics covered will include: evaluating types of gardens best suited for space and population, teaching techniques and links to educational standards, how to create partnerships with local businesses, decisions on what to plant, uses for produce generated, obtaining funds and/or materials (including repurposed materials), the creation of an on-site farm stand, making food-related products for sale, and other fundraising activities involving students and fellow staff. This presentation will also reference a district-wide garden collaborative that supports the school lunch programs of more than 70 elementary schools, providing substantial food cost savings for the Detroit Public School District.


    A2 | A Secret Garden: Successes and Challenges in Reaching Rural Low-income Youth

    Rebecca Turk | Education and Events Manager | Moore Farms Botanical Garden | Lake City, SC

    Attendees will learn of the successes and challenges Moore Farms Botanical Garden has encountered in the launching of a youth program in a rural area with an under-served, low-income audience. We have embraced these opportunities by becoming an educational tool that local communities can use for low-cost environmental education, launching our youth program in the spring of 2015. We will explain what partnerships and programming have resulted in positive outcomes and what’s currently in the works. This session will benefit gardens that have recently launched a youth program and also provide learning opportunities for established programs, providing new ideas, outlooks, and techniques for reaching under-served youth. Covering both traditional and non-traditional school programming, this session has something to offer for all educators.


    A3 | Family Gardens: A User's Guide for Designers and Horticultural Professionals

    Chris Cosby | Senior Manager of Gardens | Memphis Botanic Garden | Memphis, TN

    Family gardens are challenging environments for designers and horticulturists. They must be aesthetically pleasing, botanically interesting, extremely durable, accommodate changing traffic patterns, and be relatively low maintenance in order to meet diverse user needs and educational objectives. At the same time, they must create an atmosphere of wonder and inspiration for visitors of all ages. Using My Big Backyard at the Memphis Botanic Garden as a case study, this session will explore the successes, failures, and lessons learned over seven years of continuous use. We will discuss short and long-term design strategies, plant materials, maintenance techniques, and working with education departments to create innovative seasonal exhibits, habitat for ecological studies, and an ever-evolving environment for learning.


    A4 | NGSS in the Outdoor Classroom

    Arden Bucklin-Sporer| Executive Director | Education Outside | San Francisco, CA

    This session will examine ways to activate, energize, and sustain interest in a schoolyard garden by tying it to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), ensuring that students will be scientifically and environmentally literate. NGSS is a new set of real-world science and engineering standards that moves us from the “science-as-facts-only” type of curriculum to a 21st century education platform based on student-driven inquiry and practical application of concepts—ideal for the garden classroom’s real-world, hands-on learning environment. This session will make the case that the widely adopted NGSS can be effectively taught in outdoor classrooms to support in-class learning, thereby assisting teachers and school districts in their approach to curriculum, and positioning the schoolyard garden as an essential learning lab for every school.


    A5 | Fast Fun Fresh Food Gardens To Go

    Dr. Arlene Marturano | Coordinator | South Carolina Garden-based Learning Network | Columbia, SC

    This session will introduce participants to methods that children can use to grow seasonal salad gardens and microgreens in portable miniature growing systems that teach gardening, nutrition and recycling simultaneously. Growing one’s own food is the best way to encourage children to eat their vegetables and try new foods, and compact portable gardening systems allow children to tote them home to share with parents. The presentation will include a demonstration of six salad seed starting systems, from bucket gardens to seashell salads. We’ll address seasonal greens for regional climate differences, harvesting methods conducive to long-term production, and fast fresh recipes to go. Participants will make a salad necklace.


    A6 | Captivate Your Audience! Using Storytelling and Touch Makes Learning Stick!

    Erica Max | Program and Education Director | Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust | Milton, MA

    This session will share how staff at the Wakefield Estate help children establish a life-long connection with nature and the environment through outdoor experiential learning. The Wakefield Estate is a 22-acre 300-year old family farm, now turned into an arboretum, formal garden, and educational site just 15 minutes from many of Boston’s inner city schools. The Wakefield Estate’s innovative model helps convey science standards in ways that stick by offering opportunities for young people to touch and witness nature alive and up close, and using carefully crafted stories to accompany the experience. We’ll discuss how some of our most effective programs grew out of actual experiences that became captivating stories linked to age-appropriate curriculum. This session will outline strategies for developing similar programs and stories that engage classrooms or audiences, while also helping communicate educational content or important messages.


    A7 | School Gardening for South Carolina Educators

    Amy Dabbs | Horticulture Extension Agent | Clemson Extension | Charleston, SC
    Zack Snipes | Horticulture Extension Agent | Clemson Extension | Charleston, SC
    Patricia Whitener | 4-H Extension Agent | Clemson Extension | Greenville, SC

    School Gardening for South Carolina Educators is a 5-week online professional development course for educators, school nurses, cafeteria workers and administrators as well as community garden coordinators, staff and volunteers. The program goal is to provide educators with the knowledge, training and equipment to start and sustain school gardens. Hands-on workshops and on-going support from Clemson Extension Master Gardeners helps keep gardens growing. A planting plan and transplant delivery program ensures students see a harvest while educators are still learning how to garden successfully. 4-H enrichment activity kits and a K-8, S.T.E.M. curriculum written by teachers enhances student experiences in the garden classroom. Since 2013, we have trained over 200 teachers and installed over 100 school gardens across the state of South Carolina. We’ll share lessons learned from this program, including innovative approaches that our interdisciplinary team has developed to overcome common school gardening obstacles such as poor soil, seasonality and food safety concerns.


    A8 | Regional School Garden Hub for Supporting School Garden Coordinators

    Rick Sherman | Farm to School/School Garden Coordinator | Oregon Department of Education | Salem, OR

    One of the global issues that we deal with in the school garden world is having a school garden with no support, i.e. a localized volunteer workforce. Join Rick as he shares a regional support model to help generate a larger network of support for your school garden. Participants will be able to create and engage in a regional school garden hub in their area, and create a strategy for garnering paid school garden coordinator support.


    B1 | Using Skills of Older Gardeners to Build Better Dirt

    Jenks Farmer | Owner | Jenks Farmer, Plantsman | Columbia, SC

    Join us for a session combining history, science, and storytelling that will leave participants with a new understanding of soil science and specific examples of how we can garden, landscape, and farm in a way that is permanent, inspired by and gentle on the earth. Jenks will use stories from older gardeners to inspire new and current gardeners, and to examine specific gardening and soil science topics and how our approach to those topics has changed over time – often not for the better. He’ll follow with updates on our understanding of soil science and microbiology and how the use of tilling, pesticides, and synthetics change the soil food web. This new knowledge has led to new growing practices, and the session will cover methods such as no-till, plants that are beneficial to the soil, cover crops, and using plants with multiple functions. While these concepts will be told through stories of southern gardens, the lessons are universal.


    B2 | Re-thinking the Design of a Public Children’s Garden

    Betsy Corn | Children’s Garden Manager | South Carolina Botanical Garden | Clemson, SC
    Mary Haque | Landscape Architect and Professor Emerita, Department of Horticulture | Clemson University | Clemson, SC

    Have you ever considered re-designing an existing garden? Existing children’s gardens can often benefit from a thorough critique and design refresh. The formation of an advisory board and design team is an effective way to bring together interdisciplinary groups of community experts to collaborate with botanical garden staff on evaluation, planning, re-design, fund-raising, and management directions. We’ll use the re-design process of the children’s garden at the South Carolina Botanical Garden as a case study to illustrate this methodology. We’ll compare and contrast proposals and study a new design that includes vegetable, butterfly, sensory, storybook and water gardens together with a maze, canopy walk, and outdoor classroom. The project will provide families and children with a variety of fresh approaches to getting outside through a public garden that provides healing community spaces for healthy living and learning environments in a whimsical, artistic, horticultural setting.


    B3 | Monarchs, Milkweed, and Migration: An International Expedition

    Will Green | 7th Grade Science Teacher | The International Academic Magnet at Irmo Middle School | Columbia, SC
    Sara Green | Director of Education | South Carolina Wildlife Federation | Columbia, SC
    I’esha Odom | Columbia, SC
    Clare Bellucci | Columbia, SC

    Attendees will learn how teachers across the curriculum at Irmo Middle School are using the issue of the Monarch butterfly population decline as a lens to engage students in their regular studies, based on applicable standards and the collection of real scientific data that will help to determine the migration routes of East coast Monarchs. This learning includes the creation of a garden on school grounds with a variety of plants to attract Monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Students capture and tag Monarchs attracted to this garden. The school uses partnerships and volunteer work to educate the community and encourage citizens to plant native milkweed in order to build back the corridor necessary to aid in conservation of the species. This lecture features lead teachers, student scientists, and community stakeholders.


    B4 | It’s Herbalicious!

    Barbara Thomas | Team Leader | Master Gardener/4-H | Glasgow, VA

    Using the Master Gardener/4-H garden program at Natural Bridge Elementary School as an example, attendees will learn how they can use herbs in an elementary garden program. We’ll give a quick overview of the program and curriculum, then dive into our proven and successful herb lesson. We’ll cover the main uses of herbs and historical practices including how herbs were used by American colonists and in other cultures. Just like with our fourth graders, various herbs will be passed out and we'll examine their characteristics through touch, smell, and taste, and learn about how they are best used. Finger food made with herbs will be shared, and participants will have an opportunity to figure out what herb is in what food.  We’ll discuss why we choose certain recipes and share handouts on herbal descriptions, recipes and other resources. We all remember concepts better when we eat the examples!


    B5 | A 4-H Gardening Project: Hands-on Experience with Statewide Competition

    Alana West | 4-H Agent | Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service | Newberry, SC

    What is 4-H and how can it help in gardening with children? This session will provide insight into a statewide 4-H gardening project for youth ages 5-19, designed to educate youth on where and how their food is grown with hands on, in the garden experiences. Project participants prepare, plant, maintain, and harvest a minimum 100 square foot garden with at least three edible crops, and keep and return a project record book. They’re required to keep up with financial expenses and any income generated from their garden, write a short story, record precipitation amounts, sketch a map of the garden, and document the project in photos. An on-site visit from an Extension Agent, in addition to the completed record book, is used to judge these projects. In this session, we’ll look at how this program was developed and how it has evolved from an individual project into something that can also be used in group settings. Take ideas back home, learn how you can get involved, and provide feedback for improvement and expansion.


    B6 | Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor

    Amy Weaver | Farm to School Coordinator | SC Department of Agriculture | Columbia, SC
    Justina Siuba | Farm to Preschool Coordinator | SC Department of Health and Environmental Control | Columbia, SC

    This will be an interactive session with the goal of providing educators with the knowledge and skills to safely serve garden produce, as guided by the South Carolina Farm to Preschool/School Program’s Taste Test Guide. Attendees will learn the basic principles of food safety when harvesting from their on-site gardens. To ensure produce from your garden is being harvested safely, it is important to know and implement basic food safety principles such as safe food handling techniques and proper hygiene for anyone harvesting and serving garden produce. Once staff members feel confident in their ability to handle food safely, they need to know what to do with the produce that was harvested! We’ll discuss the process of conducting taste tests, which can be replicated in any setting and provide an opportunity to introduce children to new foods, teach about the growing process, and help shape lifelong eating habits.


    B7 | Inch by Inch - A Student Run Garden Business

    Anna Spittler | Lead Teacher | The David School | David, KY
    Jann Knappage | Inch by Inch Project Manager | The David School | David, KY

    In this session we’ll share our journey as a small alternative high school in Eastern Kentucky making their dream of a garden business and an interdisciplinary garden curriculum a reality. It’s hard enough just to keep a school garden flourishing, to say that a business will be a result of your garden maintenance is a big jump. This session will give attendees a firsthand look into the planning, development, and supervision of our student run garden business Inch by Inch, which currently produces 2 signature hot sauces: Southeast Heat and Falcon’s Inferno. Parallel to the business portion, we’ll share how we use the garden to support core academic subject areas. We’ll provide resources and instructions on how to begin a project of this magnitude. There will be time for group discussion, as well as the opportunity to taste test our products and look over a variety of garden lessons specific to each core academic classroom.


    B8 | Assessing Formal Learning in an Informal Garden Setting

    Carmen Carrion | Graduate Student | Georgia State University | Atlanta, GA
    Kyla Van Deusen | Learning Gardens Program Manager | The Captain Planet Foundation | Atlanta, GA
    dr. debra leigh walls rosenstein | Professor | Mercer University | Atlanta, GA

    School gardens are a valuable extension of the traditional classroom and effective tools for supporting standards-based learning across numerous disciplines. This session will help you prove it! Come to this workshop to develop a strategy for assessing garden-based learning, while also digging into garden-based lessons aligned with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Using The Captain Planet Foundation’s Project Learning Garden curriculum as an example, this session will explore how garden-based learning can be adapted and implemented into classrooms and afterschool programs with an eye towards assessing results. After a general discussion, there will be group work to practice designing meaningful assessments for your garden-based learning programs. We will also practice developing built-in assessment strategies based on the learning goals from each garden lesson.


    C1 | Playing to Learn: Using Garden Games to Meet Learning Objectives

    Kavanah Anderson | Education Program Coordinator | Sarah P. Duke Gardens | Durham, NC

    Games are a fun way to engage students in active learning. Participants will hear about the role of play in Duke Gardens school programs, play games that align with educational standards, and discuss ways to use play to teach educational concepts as well as student cooperation and social skills. Learn how cooperative games and guided play in the garden can accomplish learning objectives and help teachers meet their classroom goals with interdisciplinary games that teach garden concepts as well as literacy, math, social studies, and more. We will also discuss current research on the role of play in learning.


    C2 | Children Beyond the Garden: Your Local Herbarium!

    Dr. John Nelson | Curator of the A. C. Moore Herbarium | University of South Carolina | Columbia, SC

    In this session participants will learn about the exciting world of herbariums - how an herbarium can serve as a resource for gardeners of all ages, and how scientific specimens of plants are made and used. The session will give an overview of the A. C. Moore Herbarium at the University of South Carolina, which was founded in 1907 and houses over 100,000 plant specimens including specimens from the early 19th century. The scientific, artistic, and cultural value of preserved scientific objects, especially those from cultivated plants, will be addressed. The Curator of the Herbarium will explain the process of producing useful, attractive, and/or otherwise significant and permanent plant specimens, suitable for a private or institutional herbarium. The need for specimen preparation of both intentionally cultivated plants as well as garden plant pests (weeds) will also be addressed.


    C3 | PLANTS: Purposeful Landscape Attributes Naturalizing The South

    Dr. Todd Beasley | School Environmental Education Director & Environmental Science Teacher | Heathwood Hall | Columbia, SC

    In this session, participants will learn about the popular plants that have become mainstay in the successful Heathwood Hall gardens. We’ll give a glimpse into commonly used landscape plants, their alternatives, and newly introduced plants that meet the needs of many poor conditioned sites and serve multiple purposes in many designs. Participants will also walk away with local and regional resources to acquire the suggested plants. As a bonus, teachers will learn low cost, limited resource methods of propagation as a way to increase their stock while saving the bank.


    C4 | School Gardens: Simple = Sustainable

    Jane Hiller | Education Specialist | South Carolina Green Steps Schools | Columbia, SC
    Chanda Cooper | Education Program Coordinator | Richland County Conservation Department | Columbia, SC

    In this session participants will learn about some of the simple and sustainable indoor and outdoor plant projects that the South Carolina Green Steps Schools Initiative has used to successfully engage students in gardening. Since 2004, SC Green Steps has been connecting schools with community partners for easy projects that conserve, protect and restore students' local environments. This session will demonstrate how students can both learn important environmental concepts and improve their school environment by making, using, demonstrating and even selling simple, upcycled projects with the guidance of their formal or informal educators. Participants will see (and make some of!) these projects: planters, composters, rain barrels/chains/gardens, hula hoop gardens, and wildlife habitats.


    C5 | Learn, Grow, Eat & GO! A Youth Gardening & Classroom Curriculum

    Lisa Whittlesey | Extension Program Specialist & National Junior Master Gardener Program Coordinator | College Station, TX
    Caren Walton | Project Coordinator | Junior Master Gardener Program | College Station, TX

    The Junior Master Gardener “Learn, Grow, Eat & GO!” youth gardening and nutrition curriculum was designed to engage children and families in school gardens, vegetable recipe tastings, classroom academic activities and take home family stories. This session will provide an overview of the LGEG curriculum with a focus on aspects supporting classroom learning objectives across subjects. The session will also cover existing program research outcomes related to increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, a reduction in overweight and obesity rates in children, parents’ and children’s behavioral changes within the home, increased academic engagement, and the importance of implementing school lingo or “School Speak,” when establishing and sustaining agency to school partnerships. Group discussions, handouts, visual resources, and hands-on activities will provide participants ideas regarding the utilization of extension personnel, volunteers, and youth/school/community participants.


    C7 | The Children's Voice: Listening to the Experts

    Dr. Mary Legoria | Science Specialist | Westdale Heights Academic Magnet | Baton Rouge, LA
    Dr. Pam Blanchard | Associate Professor | Louisiana State University | Baton Rouge, LA

    Do kids flit through your children’s garden like exuberant butterflies, seldom stopping for long? Would you like to see them pause more often? Landscape architect, Susan Wake (2007) tells us that children’s gardens are commonly designed for children rather than with children – that often “well-intentioned adult agendas” alter or ignore what is important to children. Learn how to incorporate children’s voices into your garden design or renovations. In this participatory workshop, we will teach you how to track children’s interest and engagement within your children’s garden, and then demonstrate how to use this data to formulate and guide interview questions for the children. This type of investigation will give you a clearer idea of what children pay attention to and how to make your garden features more attractive to children. Bring a map of your children’s garden that you can draw on, and leave with a plan to find out what children like in your garden!


    C8 | This One is for the Birds!

    Candice Miller | Extension Horticulture Educator | University of Illinois Extension | Oregon, IL
    Lisa Hepker | Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development | University of Illinois Extension | Oregon, IL

    This interactive workshop will introduce you to the exciting world of birds! We’ve found teaching hands-on activities about birds to be an excellent way to excite youth about science, gardening, and the environment. Come try your hand at a few of the many interactive bird activities we’ve compiled and created including a crowd pleasing tasty habitat search, a creative lesson that challenges kids to design and build a bird, a game of bird survivor, and trivia to test your bird song knowledge. We’ll provide you with information about plants to attract birds, citizen scientist opportunities, and the coolest technology to use for bird identification. At the end of the session, you will be inspired to pick up a pair of binoculars, install bird feeders, and discover the enjoyment of attracting birds to your gardens. Participants will leave with a packet of activities and lessons ready to teach in your next classroom session, day camp, after school program, or other youth program!


    D1 | Youth Farmers Market Toolkit: How School Gardens Impact the Community

    Andrew Nowak | Director, National School Garden Program | Slow Food USA | Denver, CO
    Allie Molinda | Manager, Seed to Table Program | Slow Food Denver | Denver, CO

    The Youth Farmers Market Toolkit will guide garden leaders through a process to develop and launch a farmers market at school, creating a program that will teach students how to run a business, earn money for the school garden program, and help overcome a lack of fresh produce in a community. This session will provide an overview of the different sections of the Youth Farmers Market (YFM) Toolkit, from 1) Developing the YFM Team; 2) Recruiting Volunteers; 3) Designing the YFM Stand; 4) Training Students to be Salespersons; 5) Managing Your Farmers Market; 6) Connecting with the Community; and 7) Connecting with Other Schools. Several different models of YFMs from Denver, CO and Washington, DC will be examined. Participants will leave the session with a flash drive containing the Toolkit and how to engage with Slow Food USA to implement their program.


    D2 | Building a Children's Garden: From Concept through Construction

    Andy Cabe | Botanical Garden Director | Riverbanks Zoo and Garden | Columbia, SC
    Amanda Segura | Children’s Garden Manager | Riverbanks Zoo and Garden | Columbia, SC

    As your imagination runs wild with ideas for a new children’s garden, this presentation will help to steer your ideas into a concrete plan for a garden that meets your needs, works with your given site, and engages your projected audience. We will discuss how to progress through the phases of research, design, and construction, to adjusting the operations after opening. Learn tips on working through the obstacles of building the garden, and what mistakes to avoid. We will cover major points of consideration like permits, irrigation, soil amendments, and planting. By keeping these big items in mind you can have a more efficient and smooth construction process, and ultimately create the garden that you want.


    D3 | Seeds of Science at the Michigan 4-H Children's Gardens

    Dr. Norm Lownds | Curator | Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden | East Lansing, MI

    This session will take you through the Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden Seeds of Science field trip program and explore how you can ensure that any field trip you take or create is a fun and engaging learning experience. We will start with initial planning and pre-field trip preparation, specifics of the field trip, and follow up. We will look at how integration of digital technologies can enhance and expand hands-on learning. This session will provide practical ideas and approaches that have been tested and shown to work. Don't miss this opportunity to discover ways to make your field trips exciting learning adventures that will stay with students for years to come!


    D4 | Creating Wildlife Habitat and Outdoor Classrooms on School Grounds

    Sara Green | Director of Education | South Carolina Wildlife Federation | Columbia, SC
    Mary Phillips | Director, Garden for Wildlife/Habitats | National Wildlife Federation | Merrifield, VA

    Learn how schools and community members can work together to create a habitat garden on school grounds that provides wildlife with food, water, cover and places to raise young, and how the garden can then be used as an outdoor classroom for inquiry-based and experiential learning across the curriculum. We’ll discuss the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Schoolyard Habitats® Program, created to assist schools, teachers, students and community members in using school grounds as learning sites for wildlife conservation and cross-curricular learning. You’ll receive information about certifying your habitat garden through the program, and joining a network of schools who are gardening for wildlife across the country. NWF state affiliate, the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, will share success stories from wildlife habitat gardens installed in elementary, middle, and high schools across the state.


    D5 | Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Building Gardens for Longevity

    Dr. Sara Starbuck | Associate Professor | Southeast Missouri State University | Carterville, IL
    Karen Midden | Professor of Landscape Architecture | Southern Illinois University | Carbondale, IL

    It’s easy to be ambitious in the planning stages of building a garden - but programs change over time, parents and teachers come and go, and what was once a flourishing garden can turn into a mass of weeds. This presentation will stress how to avoid getting carried away during the early stages and will offer experienced advice on how to plan smart for the short and long term. Smart planning begins with starting small, engaging others, obtaining resources and investigating options. Working together with a garden team, including staff, grounds maintenance, families, and community members, to explore opportunities both within and outside the program will result in the development of a plan with clear priorities and ideas for resources. Small and simple can offer children the same exciting and meaningful experiences with gardens that are a joy, and not an endless job.


    D6 | Does Your Garden Have E.S.P.? (Extra Special Plants)

    Ian Warnock | Lead Horticulturist | Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park | Grand Rapids, MI

    This session will show attendees Extra Special Plants to grow in their children's gardens, with a focus on plants with sensory qualities that encourage children to use their five senses and some that may inspire their imagination - from new and colorful annuals and perennials with pizzazz, to herbs, fruits and vegetables for the kitchen. We'll look at plants that look, taste, feel, smell and sound fun and interesting plus other plants that "POP"...literally! We'll see how you can bring the tropics to cooler climates (at least for the summer) and how some plants can become pirate treasure and painters' masterpieces.


    D7 | Boulders, Birches & Books: A Magical Park Connects Families to Nature

    Nancy Striniste | Founder and Principal Landscape Designer | EarlySpace, LLC | Arlington, VA
    Lauren Wheeler | Director of Graduate Program in Landscape Design | George Washington University | Arlington, VA

    In this session you’ll learn about a unique city park bringing authentic engagement with nature to a diverse community of apartment dwelling children and families. We’ll discuss natural play elements within the park, how they offer adventure, challenge, and a sense of ownership and control, and techniques for including these types of natural play elements at a variety of scales from backyards to schoolyards to public parks. You’ll see examples of how to use tree parts and terrain for climbing challenges, and learn about how offering simple loose parts (sand, water, buckets, plant parts) inspires hours of deep engagement. Swinging benches and Little Free Library boxes invite children to take a book and read in the park! Locally native plants create a unique sense of place while providing numerous ecological benefits and educational opportunities. Finally, you'll also get tips for applying playground safety and ADA regulations to a natural play space.


    D8 | Pennsylvania Pride - Innovation in K-12 Environmentally Conscious Programming

    Cindy Tyler | Principal | Terra Design Studios | Pittsburgh, PA
    Steve Cooper | Outdoor Education Coordinator and School Nurse | Winchester Thurston – North Hills Campus | Allison Park, PA
    Carole Wright | Science Teacher, K-5 | Valley School of Ligonier | Ligonier, PA

    The passion for grassroots, hands-on outdoor education has taken hold in western Pennsylvania. In this exciting session you will hear from educators leading the charge for dedicated nature programming made unique by the level of student ownership of each program. At the Valley School of Ligonier students raise Brook Trout in the Trout Unlimited sponsored “Trout in the Classroom” project, and play a formative role in the community building experience of the 5th Grade Settlement. At the Winchester Thurston School the Outdoor Education Coordinator works directly with students to develop relevant, achievable outdoor experiences throughout the 8-acre campus. Outside the classroom, family-focused garden strategies are being implemented at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden to welcome visitors until their family garden, the Garden of Make-Believe, can be funded and built. Interim projects include Autism Spectrum Disorder sensory stations - the first in a woodland setting - that enable children to control their immersion in nature. Each panelist will outline their programs' strategies and successes, followed by a brief period for answering questions.


    E1 | "I Can Do That!" Online JMG Youth Garden Resources/Curriculum/Training Tools

    Randy Seagraves | Curriculum Director | National Junior Master Gardener Program | College Station, TX

    The Junior Master Gardener (JMG) program has a number of new web-based resources, electronic curriculum options and online trainings available to support youth gardening projects. Classroom teachers and informal educators alike will benefit from a proven and unique set of online tools that will help ensure garden success. Newly developed multimedia training programs from the foundational JMG "Plant Growth & Development" curriculum and the popular "Learn, Grow Eat & Go!" curriculum will be featured in this session. The session will highlight favorite hands-on activities, and attendees will have a chance to see the resources in action. Connecting attendees to online youth gardening resources will make the job of starting and leading a sustainable garden project easier, more effective, more sustainable - and more fun!


    E2 | Using Evidence-based Research for Successful Youth Garden Programs

    Katie Nikah | Senior Project Coordinator | University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX
    Bonnie Martin | School Liaison | University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX
    Shirene Garcia | Garden and Nutrition Coordinator | University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX

    Learn how to shape a successful youth garden program based on research. We will review the most recent and innovative research from the last 5 years on how youth gardening affects academic performance, dietary intake and related behaviors, physical activity levels, and obesity and metabolic measures. We will discuss effective research designs and evaluation methods, outline strategies and components employed in successful programs, and highlight ways in which we can advance current projects. We will also emphasize how to interpret sound research design, methodology and results for the lay public by reviewing the existing literature in small groups. Small groups will review and present research study components they could use to create a sustainable program. The best projects have a solid foundation in data and evidence-based research and that should be accessible to anyone who wants to further his or her project so it can be sustainable. Adding current research to our arsenal will encourage new and expanding ideas, as well as maximize the impact of child and youth garden programs.


    E3 | Powerful Partnerships to Ensure Urban Youth Get Their Hands Dirty

    Lee Coykendall | Children's Education Specialist | United States Botanic Garden | Washington, DC
    Su Lok | Director, Corporate and Community Partnerships | The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company | Maryville, OH
    Jashae Smith | Off-Site Manager | The Fishing School | Washington, DC

    Join us for a workshop of the mind and the hands. Learn how the US Botanic Garden; The Fishing School, a community based organization serving low-income youth; and a funder, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, all come together to immerse urban youth in the plant world. Using the HOPS (Hands On Plant Science) program, we will dissect the underpinnings of a successful collaborative model and examine ways to reach an atypical audience. We’ll discuss how one community based organization can achieve its mission while expanding the reach of another, and what a funder looks for when they commit support for a program. Working in groups, participants will be challenged to develop a partnership model transferrable to their own organization. Participants will also have a chance to get their hands dirty and learn new ways to teach pollination and photosynthesis to students of all ages. Participants will receive a HOPS workbook containing 16 unique hands on plant science lessons.


    E4 | Littlest of Green Thumbs: Engaging Preschoolers in the Garden

    Elizabeth Schleicher| Naturalist | Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Garden | Indianapolis, IN

    Preschoolers are one of the most exciting and rewarding demographics to work with! This presentation will offer educators methods and ideas for getting preschoolers (and their parents) pumped about gardening. Attendees will be offered step-by-step ways to plan, prepare, and execute fun and engaging gardening programs for preschool-aged children. Attendees will leave with examples of tot-tested crafts, lists of entertaining story books, and activities that will leave little ones engaged and excited! The session will also offer ideas for plants and other features to make your children’s garden more preschool-friendly. In addition to programming methods and ideas, this session will also share information on why preschool programs are successful and ways to develop and market them for the best success.


    E5 | Fun, Hands-On Garden Day Camp Ideas

    Dr. Shelley Mitchell | Assistant Extension Specialist | Oklahoma State University | Stillwater, OK

    Come experience tried-and-true hands-on activities from garden day camp. Learn how a week-long summer garden camp (without access to a garden) is possible, discover non-traditional sources of ideas for activities, and see what you can do with a shoestring budget. All activities are kid-approved!


    E6 | Vegetable Production with Special Populations

    Jenny Totten | Extension Agent | West Virginia State University | Institute, WV
    Tabitha Surface | Extension Agent | West Virginia State University | Institute, WV

    Teachers and community educators are being asked to instruct increasingly diverse populations. From the very beginning, the youth garden space must be designed to facilitate independent learning for the varied abilities of its gardeners. In this workshop attendees will learn how to teach vegetable production to early childhood and special needs populations with adaptive garden construction practices, adaptive production methods, and strategies for managing students in outdoor spaces. Additionally, each participant will make and take their own production kit for use in their classrooms and community spaces. Bring your ideas to share during the discussion portion of the workshop.


    E7 | Next Generation Garden-Based Learning: Middle School

    Kyla Van Deusen | Project Learning Garden Manager | Captain Planet Foundation | Atlanta, GA

    Captain Planet Foundation's Project Learning Garden (PLG) includes garden-based, standards-aligned lessons for pre-K through 8th grade. This session will focus on the middle school (6th-8th) grades, and will offer the opportunity to participate in the engineering design challenges and other activities presented in several lessons. From designing and implementing a model irrigation system to testing plants for medicinal properties, you will come away from this session with practical skills for conducting high-level STEM activities in your school garden. The workshop will cover strategies for setting up successful garden based lessons with middle schoolers as well as a brief overview of implementing Next Generation Science Standards practices, core ideas and cross-cutting concepts in the garden. Using a school garden in this way can encourage involvement from teachers who might not otherwise be inclined to use garden-based learning, and support your school's efforts toward STEM certification.


    E8 | Insect Hotels and Pollinator Havens: Teaching Youth About Insects

    Kelly Allsup | Horticulture Educator | University of Illinois Extension | Bloomington, IL

    In recent years, many gardeners have gone beyond focusing on plant culture and ventured into the insect interactions vital to pollination and organic pest control. This session will demonstrate lessons to use to elaborate on the importance of insects in the garden. Lessons will include using live Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers to teach the anatomy of insects, teaching classrooms to rear their own butterflies and what they can do about the declining Monarch population, building pollinator gardens, and identifying good and bad insects. We’ll delve into manipulatives, activities, books, handouts, youth camps and school lessons that the presenter has developed to encourage youth to appreciate and understand insects. Participants will build their very own insect hotel for the garden. All levels of expertise will leave with multiple resources to easily recreate these lessons in their own classrooms.


    F1 | Defeating the Grant Beast

    Dr. Todd Beasley | School Environmental Education Director & Environmental Science Teacher | Heathwood Hall | Columbia, SC

    This session will focus on writing effective components for the required sections of grant applications. Using the success that has allowed the Heathwood Hall School Environmental Education Team to acquire over $60,000 in grants in 8 years, participants should walk away with insightful information equating to increased success in a competitive area of funding. Participants will also practice a ‘mock’ grant writing exercise as well as learn ways to stretch constrained budgets in order to gain the most bang for their buck on their burgeoning projects.


    F2 | When Students Grow, They Are In The Know

    Jennifer Grabner | Executive Director | Southern Boone Learning Garden | Ashland, MO
    Linda Jones| Director of Nutrition Outreach | Opaa! Food Management, Inc. | Chesterfield, MO

    Utilizing school garden produce in school meals, tastings, and other events is a great way to complete the "Seed to Table" cycle of learning with students in a very real and meaningful way. The garden and food service partnership has proven to be a great way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by students, improve participation in school meal programs, and encourage local producers to join the Farm to School effort. The Southern Boone Learning Garden and Opaa! Food Management in central Missouri have formed a partnership that proves that while it’s not always easy, it’s worth the effort! We will discuss the successes and challenges enjoyed and faced along the way, from both the school garden and school food service perspectives. Information discussed will include student-grown crops, effective communication, keeping up with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), developing standard operating procedures (SOPs), food safety considerations, menu planning, marketing and promotion, our future plans, and much more.


    F3 | It's All About the Plants: A Chlorophyllic Journey

    Jane Taylor | Founding Curator | Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden | Cape Elizabeth, ME

    This session will acquaint garden designers and educators with a broad plant palate that will amaze, delight, and elicit wonder and curiosity in all regardless of age. See how to engage your garden visitors with this amazing green world and how to make connections with the plants we use every day, read about, or just enjoy. Examples include the jaw dropping 'Magic' evening primrose, the tongue-tingling eyeball plant, the too cute cucumelons, and so many more including veggies and food plants, and tie-ins with children’s literature. A comprehensive list of the plants and sources will be provided.


    F4 | Garden Field Trips: Evaluating the Elementary Student Learning and Behavioral Experience

    Jayne Funderburk | Graduate Student | Auburn University, Public Horticulture Program | Auburn, AL
    Soozi Pline | Director of Education | Huntsville Botanical Garden | Huntsville, AL

    How can educators in the classroom and at field trip sites maximize the benefits that students reap from field trip experiences? Auburn University, Huntsville Botanical Garden, and local elementary schools have collaborated on a study to evaluate how conducting tailored pre- and post-field trip activities in the classroom affects student knowledge comprehension and retention on a garden field trip, as well as if and how the activities affect student behavior on the trip. In this session we’ll explain the reasoning, methodology, and results from this research project, which focused on second graders participating in the “Butterflies” field trip at Huntsville Botanical Garden. We’ll describe the pre- and post- activities used to prime and reinforce student knowledge about butterflies, as well as the structure and content of the field trip itself. Then we’ll discuss our findings from pre- and post-field trip tests used to evaluate student knowledge, and interviews with teachers and field trip guides used to evaluate student behavior on the trips. Attendees will be given kits of the pre and post activities to take home.


    F5 | Produce Pedalers: An Agripreneurial Adventure with At-Risk Adolescents

    Jenny Totten | Extension Agent | West Virginia State University | Institute, WV
    Valerie Bandell | Extension Agent | West Virginia State University | Huntington, WV

    This session will tell the story of the Produce Pedalers program, a unique horticultural project that allows at-risk adolescent youth under the supervision of the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services to engage and invest in the community where they have committed a crime. The community, in turn, invests in the youth by purchasing low-cost weekly CSA boxes full of produce that is grown, harvested and packed by the youth program participants and delivered by bicycle. The session will outline the educational programming that accompanies the hands-on garden build, vegetable production, and community driven marketing campaign. Extension agents, community members, city officials, local farmers, and state community development specialists have all collaborated on the success of this program which originated in Huntington, WV and now spans three counties and two production sites.


    F6 | The Magic of Children's Gardens: Inspiring Through Creative Design

    Dr. Lolly Tai | Professor | Temple University | Jenkintown, PA

    This session will focus on more than 15 case studies from the presenter’s upcoming book, The Magic of Children’s Gardens: Inspiring Through Design, to illustrate ideas for creating unique children’s spaces in garden settings. We’ll discuss the primary goal, concept, and design for the gardens as well as the overall landscape design process and special considerations for creating children’s outdoor environments. Design concepts surrounding scale, water, plants, wildlife, heights, retreat, creative and active play, and stimulation of the five senses will be highlighted. We’ll also cover educational and sustainable landscape concepts unique to each garden. The examples provided are intended to serve as a broad platform to inspire the creation of well-designed children’s outdoor spaces, and will be helpful for anyone planning to design and build outdoor spaces for children.


    F7 | Expanding Educational Opportunities in a Children's Garden Through Teen Interpreters

    Jennifer Laquet | Horticulture Interpretation Specialist | Missouri Botanical Garden | St. Louis, MO

    Come learn how teen volunteers can help education staff increase learning opportunities for children’s garden visitors. The SAGE Service Program at the Missouri Botanical Garden gets middle- and high-school students outside during the summer and helps them learn about plants and the environment. They, in turn, can share their new knowledge with visitors to the Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden through fun, nature-based activities. While interacting with the public, these young educators gain valuable experience in informal education, public speaking, leadership, gardening, and natural sciences. In this session we’ll share the successes we’ve had with teen volunteers acting as informal educators, and techniques to recruit, train, and retain teen volunteers for your institutions. By providing volunteer opportunities for teens at botanical gardens, we can help inspire the next generation of adults to be environmentally literate, scientifically minded citizens and leaders!


    G1 | Growing Healthy Kids and Communities

    Heather Buritsch | Statewide Gardening for Nutrition Coordinator | University of Maryland Snap-ED, Food Supplement Nutrition Education | Columbia, MD
    Amy Wolpert | FSNE County Nutrition Educator | University of Maryland Snap-ED, Food Supplement Nutrition Education | Columbia, MD
    Nathan Bratko | FSNE Nutrition Educator | University of Maryland Snap-ED, Food Supplement Nutrition Education | Columbia, MD

    In this session we’ll share strategies for building a school gardening program that can impact the whole school as well as students’ families and community. Participants will learn techniques for healthy role modeling, how to incorporate nutrition and farm to school programs into school gardens, and how to involve families and the larger community. School gardens have the potential to serve as a basis for a number of initiatives. For example, incorporating nutrition and cooking concepts into the garden can help create youth culinary programs. School gardens can be utilized to encourage policy and environmental changes in schools, contributing toward healthier options in the cafeteria and at school functions, and even school-wide recycling and composting initiatives. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn about free curricula and techniques that can be used to build a healthy school garden and school community.


    G2 | Earth and PolliNation EcoSTEM Kits: A Hands-on Tour

    Kim Bailey | Captain Planet Foundation | Hendersonville, NC

    In this action-packed workshop participants will have the opportunity to sample many of the engaging activities, inquiry investigations, citizen science projects, engineering design challenges, and environmental stewardship activities included in Captain Planet Foundation’s Earth and PolliNation EcoSTEM kits (two of several curriculum modules designed to meet Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math learning objectives through project-based learning). Lessons include testing soils to determine their mineral and organic content; collecting data on school cafeteria waste and turning that waste into vermicompost; designing, engineering, and installing a drip irrigation system; designing and conducting plant growth experiments to compare compost to un-amended soils; investigating soil erosion and deposition with mini-stream tables; researching, designing and installing a pollinator habitat or Monarch way station; collecting data for pollinator citizen science projects; predicting which plants are pollinated by which animals; preparing foods that are pollinated by animals – and more!


    G3 | Bringing the Garden into Art Enrichment Classes

    Heather Kelejian | Director | Ability Garden at New Hanover County Arboretum | Wilmington, NC

    In this session we’ll explore art from, with, and in the garden with eight different concepts for using the garden in arts classes. We’ll fully explore two of the concepts from idea to practical application, with discussion of the pitfalls in between, and share hands-on activities that attendees can immediately incorporate into their enrichment programming. Planning is a vital part of using the garden and we will offer information on how to plan, prepare and store materials to be utilized, as well as how we work to engage kids as much as possible in this on-going process. Attendees will be presented with a blend of practical and creative information to spur their thinking, which they can draw on to add another dimension to their own programming.


    G4 | Grow Your Garden Program with Innovative New Books and Websites!

    Pam Hosimer | Master Gardener | University of Maryland Extension | Damascus, MD

    Come discover incredible print and online resources in this information stuffed workshop that will make it simple to generate lots of learning and enthusiasm with children and youth in your garden program. We’ll cover topics directly applicable to garden education including growing vegetables, recycling, pollinators, nutrition education, energy, the water cycle, bugs, climate change, and other related topics. Curriculum ideas and low cost activities will be presented, and we’ll make a couple of budget-friendly crafts. Materials will appeal to both formal and informal educators and be useful in both standards-based and extracurricular programs. A full bibliography of all resources will be provided.


    G5 | A Bilingual Garden Extravaganza!

    Beth Lemire | Dwight Englewood School | Chestnut Ridge, NY
    Sandra Harrison | Spanish Teacher | Dwight Englewood School | Chestnut Ridge, NY

    Come learn how to use your school garden as a bilingual English/Spanish teaching tool: join Spanish teacher Sandra Harrison and science teacher Beth Lemire for a bilingual garden activity extravaganza! Participants will learn songs, rhymes, cooking recipes, and other activities in both English and Spanish while building on their Spanish vocabulary and conversation skills.


    G6 | YouTube and Videolicious: Online Story-Making Made Easy

    Dr. Gail Wagner | Professor | Department of Anthropology, University of South Carolina | Columbia, SC

    Online YouTube movies have proven to be an excellent way to hone students’ communication skills, and connect your students’ learning with parents and the public. Movies can be made by students for assignments, or you can make them to advertise or showcase your garden and teaching accomplishments. In this hands-on workshop, you will set up your own YouTube channel and make two short movies from digital still shots. We’ll use Photo Stage Slideshow Producer (free, easy-to-use software for PCs) and Videolicious, a free app for iPhones. The former allows you to make movies using still shots, movie clips, voiceover, and background music. The latter allows you to make one-minute movies using up to 10 pictures on your iPhone, with voiceover and music. The only tools needed are a phone or camera that takes digital pictures, and a PC. Discussion covers topics such as copyright issues and educational goals. Students in middle school and older can easily make movies like these, and so can you – after all, we’ve all got stories to tell! Please bring your own PC and/or iPhone to fully explore the session material.

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