News & Press

Call for Sessions for NCYGS 2024

Call for Sessions for the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS) is Now Open!

The American Horticultural Society, in collaboration with Chicago Botanic Garden, has issued a Call for Sessions for the annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS) taking place on Chicago’s North Shore, July 8-11, 2024. Started over 30 years ago, NCYGS is an annual professional development conference for garden educators who want to help children develop social skills, enhance school curricula, bring families together, and create an awareness of the link between nature and our food, clothing and shelter.

Interested in leading a session at the conference? Review the session subject areas below, read the proposal guidelines, and submit your session proposals by Sunday, December 31, 2023. All submissions will be notified in January 2024. We encourage youth garden educators from across the fields to apply!


Session Subject Areas:

Sessions may be submitted in the following subject areas and may address more than one subject area:

  • Career Development: sessions focus on pathways for youth to careers in horticulture/sustainability
  • Curriculum: sessions focus on the design and implementation of curriculum and learning standards in youth gardening
  • DEAI: sessions focus on youth gardening through lenses of diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (such as universal learning, horticultural therapy, and racial and economic equity)
  • Funding: sessions focus on building and maintaining financial support for youth gardening and tracking financial metrics
  • Horticulture: sessions focus on plant selection, landscape design, and landscape care for children’s gardens
  • Programming: sessions focus on engagement models and activities for youth with gardens (including play-based learning and social-emotional learning)

Submit your session proposals by Sunday, December 31, 2023. For more information about the Symposium, contact Director of National Programs Courtney Allen at or call (703) 768-5700 ext. 121. You can also join our email list to receive periodic updates about NCYGS.

News & Press

Deadlines Approaching for NCYGS Early Bird Registration and Scholarships

Join us at the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium, July 12-15 in Knoxville, Tennessee, for an invigorating and educational experience where you will connect with gardening educators from around the country and learn new ways to bring the joys of gardening into your classrooms and communities. The 31st Annual Symposium, hosted by the University of Tennessee and UT Gardens – Knoxville, will feature 30 engaging sessions, eight field experiences, and limitless bonding amongst like-minded peers.  

We are thrilled to be able to offer scholarships to defray the cost to attend, thanks to the generosity of Ball Horticultural Company and the University of Tennessee. There are three scholarship categories based on demonstrated financial need, commitment to children’s and youth gardening initiatives, and work with underserved and/or Title I populations.  


Photo Credit: Jonah Brown

  • Ball Horticultural Scholarship Fund – open to those who self-identify as Black, Indigenous and/or as a Person of Color 
  • University of Tennessee Scholarships – open to Tennessee residents and UT students 
  • National Children & Youth Garden Symposium Scholarships – open to all
    symposium attendees. 

Important Dates:
May 12 – Deadline for Early Bird Registration.
May 27 – Deadline for Scholarships.
June 10 – Deadline for Hotel Group Discount Online Reservations.
June 28 – Deadline for Online Registration.

We hope you join us for the 2023 NCYGS, one of the country’s longest-running, most prestigious gardening conferences for youth educators.  Leveraging a proven train-the-trainer model, the Symposium has cultivated thousands of educators across the country who return to their communities inspired, invigorated, and motivated to educate a new generation about the importance of gardening. 

News & Press

2023 Junior Master Gardener National Leader Training Conference

Join Junior Master Gardener for their Virtual 2023 National Leader Training, February 21-22.  This is a great opportunity for teachers, administrators, and program leaders to learn how to implement best practices, how to involve parents and students into programming, and how to build sustainability.  

Keynote speakers: 

  • Chris Field, founder and CEO of Mercy Project, non-profit that rescues children from human trafficking in Ghana 
  • Kjell N. Lindgren, M.D., NASA astronaut, Texas Master Naturalist 

To learn more about the JMG National Leader Training, visit 

JGM partners with AHS on the “Growing Good Kids – Excellence in Children’s Literature” award that honors best new children’s books about gardening and nature. Winners are announced at the AHS National Children & Youth Symposium. Learn more about the Growing Good Kids Book Awards.   

News & Press

NCYGS Call for Submissions Deadline Extended to January 13

Deadline to submit presentation proposals for the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium has been extended to Friday, January 13.  

In partnership with University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and UT Gardens, NCYGS 2023 will be held in Knoxville, July 12 – 15. NCYGS is the longest running national event where garden educators (pre-K through 12th) convene to learn about current trends in nature-based education and share resources, best practices, and inspiring stories with peers across the country.   

Presentations should be adapted for a diverse audience of classroom teachers, “informal” educators from a variety of organizations, botanical gardens staff, landscape architects, program coordinators, and more. Sessions may be presented in either a lecture or workshop format. Additional guidelines and proposal writing tips can be found on our website, as well as last year’s sessions.

Notifications regarding the status of each proposal will be sent out in February, and selected presenters will receive a discounted rate to attend the Symposium.  

We are excited to review your proposals! You are the frontline of gardening trends, challenges, solutions, research and best practices in youth education. Your participation shapes the future of gardening and its impact on the earth.

If you have just an idea, a question, or need any type of support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to

Read more about NCYGS 2023 and submit your presentation proposal by January 13!

News & Press

Call for Sessions for NYCGS 2023

The American Horticultural Society, in collaboration with UT Gardens, Knoxville, has issued a Call for Sessions for the annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS) taking place in Knoxville, Tennessee, July 12-15, 2023. NCYGS is an annual professional development conference for garden educators who inspire today’s youth to become tomorrow’s gardeners.

Interested in leading a session at the conference? We are accepting session proposals through January 6, 2023. These peer-led sessions will focus on thought-provoking topics, provide practical knowledge and skills, and appeal to a variety of experience levels and educational settings. Presenters will be informed by January 31 and will receive discounted registration to the Symposium.

For questions, please email with questions. Join our mailing list to receive periodic updates about the NCYGS.

Learn More and submit proposal