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  • NCYGS History

    For more than 20 years, the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS) has educated thousands of teachers who have, in turn, gone on to educate over a million children: A million children who take this knowledge and apply it to the world around them with curiosity, energy, and genuine appreciation.

    NCYGS History

    AHS Youth Garden Symposia 1993-present

    Read a 2016 interview with AHS staff about the history and impact of the symposium over the years.

    1993 – Chevy Chase, MD August 12-14

    “Children, Plants, and Gardens: Educational Opportunities”
    National 4-H Conference Center
    Keynote speakers: Dr. Roger Hart, John Jeavons, Mark Francis, Dr. Mark Plotkin, Jane Taylor, Anne Lusk
    Presenting sponsor: W. Atlee Burpee & Company.
    Attendees: ~500


    1994 – Arlington, VA August 5-7

    “Out of the Classroom and Into the Garden”
    Doubletree Conference Center
    Keynote speakers: Louise Chawla, David Kahn, Bill Lucas, Sharon Lovejoy, George C. Ball Jr., Frances R. Rosiak, Ward Cheney
    Co-sponsored by the American Montessori Foundation
    Attendees: ~450


    1995 – Pasadena, CA June 27-30

    “Gardens for Youth: Nourishing Mind, Body, and Heart”
    Pasadena Conference Center and The Arboretum of Los Angeles County
    Keynote speakers: Brian Holley, Bill Lucas, Catherine Sneed, George Ball, Jr., Jane Taylor, Gary Nabhan
    Attendees:~300


    1996 – Pine Mountain, GA June 28-30

    “Sowing Seeds and Growing Minds-Cultivating Education in the Garden”
    Callaway Gardens
    Keynote speakers: Robin Moore, Monica Buntin, Cynthia Klemmer, Jane Taylor, Anne Lusk, Lynn Cherry, Vasha Rosenbloom, Anne C. Hamilton, Juanita Barrow, general session panel featuring Mary Marcoux, Lois Peterson, Holly Shimizu
    Attendees:~120


    1997 – Glencoe, IL July 31-August 2

    “Way to Grow!”
    Chicago Botanic Garden
    Keynote speakers: Lee May, Michael Caduto, Nancy Jurenka
    Attendees: ~120


    1998 – Arlington, VA July 30-August 1

    “Growing Strong-Step Into My Garden”
    DoubleTree Hotel
    Keynote speakers: Felder Rushing, Jane Taylor, Robin Moore, Mary S. Rivkin, Ph.D.
    Attendees: ~160


    1999 – Denver, CO July 22-24

    “Growing Strong!”
    Denver Botanic Gardens
    Keynote speakers: Ed Hume, Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Dirck and Molly Brown, Norm Lownds
    Attendees: ~120


    2000 – Lake Buena Vista (Orlando), FL June 8-10

    “Celebrating Children’s Gardens in the New Millenium: Design is Key”
    Walt Disney World
    Keynote speakers: Henri Landwirth, Robin Moore
    Attendees: ~200


    2001 – East Lansing, MI July 12-14

    “Gardening Beyond the Boundaries”
    Michigan State University and The Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden
    Keynote speakers: Dr. Carrie Heeter, Jane L. Taylor, Dr. Alice Whiren
    Attendees: ~300


    2002 – San Francisco, CA August 1-3

    Theme: Environmental Education and Nutrition
    Holiday Inn Golden Gateway
    Keynote speakers: Delaine Eastin, Michael Abelman, Mary Ann Patterson, general session panel featuring Sharon Lovejoy, Bill Andrew, Rodney K. Taylor, Joan Dye Gussow
    Attendees: ~120


    2003 – Alexandria, VA July 24-26

    River Farm
    Keynote speaker: Jane Taylor
    Attendees: ~200


    2004 – Ithaca, NY July 29-31

    “Branching Out: Beyond Formal Garden-Based Education”
    Cornell University
    Keynote speakers: Roger Hart, Frank S. Rossi
    Attendees: 208


    2005 – Atlanta, GA July 28-30

    “Making Connections”
    Local co-hosts Atlanta Botanical Garden and Wonderland Gardens, headquartered at Emory University
    Keynote speakers: Sharon Lovejoy, Tim O’Keefe, Marcia Eames-Sheavly
    Attendees: 202


    2006 – St. Louis, MO July 27-29

    “Cultivating a Sense of Place: A Youth Gardening Adventure”
    Missouri Botanical Garden
    Keynote speakers: Richard Louv, Peter H. Raven, Caroline Lewis, panel discussion moderated by Norm Lownds
    Attendees: 264
    NCYGS 2006 Event Brochure


    2007 – Chaska, MN July 19-21

    “Widening the Circle”
    Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
    Keynote speakers: Eric Jolly, Sherry Norfolk, Albe Zakes
    Attendees: 216
    NCYGS 2007 Event Brochure


    2008 – Greater Philadelphia Area July 24-26

    “Growing Fertile Minds and Communities”
    Local hosts: Camden Children’s Garden, Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Winterthur Museum & Country Estate
    Headquartered at University of Delaware’s Newark Campus
    Keynote speakers: Jane Kirkland, Erica Wheeler
    Attendees: 337
    NCYGS 2008 Event Brochure


    2009 – Cleveland, OH July 23-25

    “Common Ground: Gardens for a Greener Tomorrow”
    Cleveland Botanical Garden
    Keynotes: Will Allen, Seedfolks (theatrical production)
    Attendees: 252
    NCYGS 2009 Event Brochure


    2010 – Pasadena, CA July 22-24

    “The Vitality of Gardens: Energizing the Learning Environment”
    Local hosts: Descanso Gardens, Garden School Foundation, Kidspace Children’s Museum, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, University of California Common Ground Garden Program
    Keynote speakers: Alice Waters, Sam Levin, Roger Swain
    Attendees: 255
    NCYGS 2010 Event Brochure


    2011 – East Lansing & Grand Rapids, MI July 21-23

    Local hosts: 4-H Children’s Garden at Michigan State University and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
    Keynote speakers: John Fraser, Jane Taylor
    Attendees: 208
    NCYGS 2011 Event Brochure


    2012 – Greater Washington, DC Area July 19-21

    River Farm
    Headquartered at the University of Maryland, College Park
    Keynote speakers: Holly Shimizu, Mark Thorne, Kirk Brown (as John Bartram)
    Attendees: 290
    Presenting sponsor: The Burpee Foundation
    NCYGS 2012 Event Program


    2013 – Denver, CO July 11-13

    Denver Botanic Gardens
    Keynote speakers: Louise Chawla with Brooke Gessay, Marcia Eames-Sheavly, David Sobel
    Attendees: 220
    NCYGS 2013 Event Program


    2014 – Columbus, OH July 17-19

    Local host: Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
    Headquartered at the Ohio Union at Ohio State University
    Keynote speakers: Hope Taft, Amanda Maria Edmonds, Robin Moore
    Attendees: 220
    NCYGS 2014 Event Program


    2015 - Austin, TX July 9-11

    Local hosts: International Junior Master Gardener Program and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
    Headquartered at the Radisson Austin Downtown
    Keynote speakers: Lisa Whittlesey & Alexandra Evans, Whitney Cohen, Nate Erwin
    Attendees: 260
    NCYGS 2015 Event Program


    2016 - Columbia, SC July 13-16

    Local hosts: Clemson University Extension, Heathwood Hall, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
    Headquartered at the Columbia Marriott
    NCYGS 2016 Event Flyer