Every year, the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium brings together educators, landscape architects and designers, staff at botanic gardens, non-profits, and more from around the country who are all working to engage children with gardens and the natural world that surrounds them.
Begun over 25 years ago, the symposium explores and promotes the many opportunities offered by children’s gardens: helping children develop social skills, enhancing school curricula, bringing families together, and creating an awareness of the link between nature and our food, clothing and shelter.
In 1993 the American Horticultural Society saw a need to reconnect children with nature, so it created the first Children & Youth Garden Symposium that educated and inspired people to look at garden design from a new point of view.
Since that date, thousands of children’s gardens have been created all over the world: landscapes designed specifically for children and the way they play, explore, and interact.
AHS is proud to have opened the doors for so many, and the Society continues to embrace all youth garden programming that not only reinforces what has been accomplished so far, but takes children’s gardens into new territory.
Learn about our past symposia.
Symposium Attendees Share:
“I strongly believe that we need to reconnect our children and youth to their green world. As future trustees of our planet, they will only protect what they love, and only love what they know.” – Cindy Tyler, Terra Design Studios
“This is a phenomenal symposium, and it has made a real difference in my career. I am so grateful to be a part of such a wonderful and talented group of people – this is my annual dose of re-inspiration!” – Dr. Cynthia Klemmer, San Antonio Botanical Garden
“People sometimes ask me, if I could only attend one conference this year, which would it be? Hands down, I tell them NCYGS!” – Kim Bailey, Captain Planet Foundation
“I keep coming back to the symposium every year because I love the diverse topics and the great people, conference site, food, bookstore, trips…. in essence, everything!” – Dr. Lolly Tai, Temple University
“Being new to the horticulture world, I did not know what to expect from the Symposium…integrating curriculum into the garden was also new to me. The symposium was inspiring, educational, and filled my heart with hope that I can make a difference in the lives of our youth.” -Pamela Mueri, Americorps Nebraska
“Not only did I gather information that was immediately valuable, the symposium introduced me to new ideas and strategies that should keep me busy for years to come!” – Ashley Pedersen, Tucson Botanical Gardens
“The contacts I made at the symposium have given me the encouragement and ideas to help in developing our garden’s children and youth educational programming. The conversations and sessions have not only shown me new programmatic ideas, but they have also helped show me possible ways to structure the educational programs and lay out a plan for future programmatic direction.” – Derrick Stowell, University of Tennessee Gardens
NCYGS in the News:
- Listen to AHS President & CEO, Beth Tuttle’s interview with Wisconsin Public Radio about multiple layers of youth garden sustainability.
- Listen to an episode of podcast Cultivating Place about NCYGS and the importance of youth gardening.
- Read about NCYGS and STEM learning in the garden in this Diversity in Action magazine article.
- Read an interview with AHS staff in the UC Food Observer about the history and impact of the Symposium.
- Watch highlights from the 2014 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium in Columbus, Ohio.
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