Let’s Learn!

Our peer-led educational sessions make up the meat of the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium!

Read on for descriptions of the sessions that will be presented at the 2022 symposium.

Session Block A – Wednesday, July 13


Ag Kits and Ag Lit
Pam Hosimer | SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator and Master Gardener | University of Maryland Extension
Shannon Brown | Former Elementary Education Director | Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation
Laura Menyuk | Farm to School Specialist | Great Kids Farm for Baltimore City Public Schools

In this session participants will explore how hands-on, agriculture-based student kits and paired agriculture literature offer an engaging framework for phenomena-based learning. Participants will get a behind-the-scenes look at each of the six kits, appropriate for K-12 classrooms, including the affordable/easy-to-acquire/ no-expertise-needed supplies and maintenance. These agriculture kits offer a foundation for exploration, questioning, and investment in food sources. We’ll also explore an easy method of using literature to explore NGSS cross-cutting concepts. Stick around until the end for a raffle-style giveaway!

Becoming a Globally-Reaching Garden Through Virtual Education
Whitney Welch | Garden Educator | University of Tennessee Gardens, Knoxville

During 2021, this instructor was able to take the UT Gardens to India (twice!) virtually. By now we have all seen the pitfalls of virtual education, but also the many doors it opens. Come learn about my journey of becoming a National Geographic Certified Educator and how social media and online meeting platforms enabled me to expand the reach of the UT Gardens all the way to India (and how they can help you at home as well). I will also share a few technology tips on best (or most fun) tools to use when making presentations for online viewing.

The Carbon Garden: Grow a Solution to Climate Change
Christine Nelson | Masters candidate in Sustainability Science | University of Massachusetts, Amherst

The Carbon Garden teaches and empowers children how to remove some of the excessive carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from our atmosphere and store this carbon in our soils–addressing climate change directly. This can be accomplished by using specific gardening techniques, accessible to all. Learn how to transform a gardening space from one that could be emitting carbon dioxide to one that is absorbing carbon. As carbon increases in our soils, soil health improves as well, which allows for greater gardening success!

Using Nature Themed Activities to Bring Horticulture to Children: LEAP
Cindy Marisch | Master Gardener | Green Spring Gardens

Green Spring Gardens Extension Master Gardeners organized group programs and individual activities that nurture an appreciation for nature while increasing literacy in horticulture. Youth and families participate in a variety of interactive, nature-themed, and horticulture-based activities year-round, at home or out, despite pandemic restrictions that curtailed indoor programs. The Learn, Explore, and Play (LEAP) team of Master Gardeners produced themed tri-fold brochures developed in three languages, colorful posters and shoe-box kits, scavenger hunts, and introduced the popular high-tech hide- and- seek activity of geocaching.

Revenue Generation for the Success of Your Youth Garden Program
Sarah Lane | Program Director | KidsGardening
Liz Callan | Volunteer Coordinator | Williamsburg Community Growers

One of the biggest challenges of youth garden programs is funding, more specifically consistent funding from year to year. This session will explore how youth garden programs can start to generate revenue in new and innovative ways, how to expand community engagement and support, and how to teach kids about entrepreneurship, resulting in sustainable garden programming. Participants will hear first-hand experiences from garden educators about how they launched new programming and secured a consistent budget. Participants will gain access to revenue generation resources and materials and leave ready to start a revenue generation project and to have a conversation about integrating the garden into the budget of their organization.

Session Block B – Wednesday, July 13


Hands in the Garden: Utilizing senior partners in youth gardens
Deborah Ivie | Extension Assistant Professor, Youth STEM and Junior Master Gardener State Specialist | Utah State University Extension

Two of the challenges regularly faced by youth gardens include sustainability and expertise. School-based gardens may face the challenge of care during the summer months; community gardens often see volunteer turnover. Salt Lake County 4-H has formed a unique partnership with local senior centers to create a sustainable multigeneration gardening program. This session will inform participants on the nuts and bolts of this unique partnership, and how we are utilizing both school garden space and senior garden space to meet the needs of a diverse community. Participants will leave the session with solutions for engaging youth in multi-generational gardening.

Know Your Native Trees: Inspiring Diversity in Your Garden
Pat Henley | Master Gardener | Green Spring Gardens
Carla Roeper | Master Gardener | Green Spring Gardens

The use of native trees, shrubs, and plants has gained prominence with the documented loss of animal and plant species. As trees can be the keystone in a landscape, it’s beneficial to know native tree species and their value in local ecosystems. Trees can be identified by their leaves, bark, shape and other attributes. Knowing these characteristics, the gardener can use educational books, websites or apps to finalize the identification, learn how it supports our native animals and insects, and how to use the tree in the garden. This presentation focuses on trees native to Virginia, but shares a universal method for tree identification and also resources for use in teaching more widely about native trees in any area.

Knowing & Growing: Cultivating Curiosity Outdoors
Amy Hollenshead | Outdoor Learning Center Coordinator | Northwest ISD Outdoor Learning Center
Dr. Bob Williams | Professor of Agriculture, Food, & Family | TAMU-Commerce

This session will introduce you to two inclusive learning routines that can be used with any curriculum and in any gardening environment. These routines encourage students to ask questions, make observations and make connections to their own experiences that build scientific and food literacy, as well as disciplinary literacy within your program’s adopted curriculum. Presenters will share how this is inclusive to all learners, including multi-generational usage and English language learners.

Funding and Sustaining your School Garden
Mary Dunne Stewart | CEO | Greater Richmond Fit4Kids
Katie Daniel | Program Manager | Greater Richmond Fit4Kids

Are you a pro in planting, growing, and working with students but fundraising and long term sustainability of the project are not your jam? Startup funds are pretty easy to secure, but maintaining excitement and funding over time can be a challenge. Participants will learn from the Greater Richmond Fit4Kids leadership team that manages more than 20 school gardens across four cities and counties. Specific strategies will be shared on how to engage community groups, interns, volunteers, and sponsors to support school gardens with both financial resources and sweat equity.

Vocational Horticulture With Exceptional Students: The Drew Horticulture Program
Michael Craig | Special Education Teacher/Horticulture Program Director | Detroit Public Schools Community District

This presentation will highlight and explore an award-winning program’s innovative growing techniques and differentiated methods designed to accommodate students with multiple disabilities to provide vocational skills leading to employment opportunities. The presentation will include barriers to students success, a specialized curriculum for data collection and skill development with links to educational standards, and the progression from classroom work to an intensive paid summer employment initiative. Different garden types, unique planting strategies, obtaining grant funding, developing corporate partners, and staff/parent/community involvement will also be showcased.

Now What? The Garden-Cafeteria Connection
Helen Duran | Chef, Culinary Trainer | Coppell Independent School District

The plants are growing and the children are learning. Now what? As school district chef, this presenter is often called upon to create and train a recipe to utilize produce based on classroom or garden club timing. This session will share tried-and-true recipes and the district’s more comprehensive crop plan that can produce seasonal harvests that are large enough to sample to the entire school. To engage the wider community, this presenter will share ideas for events to promote the garden and healthy eating practices. The session will also share safe and sanitary harvest guidelines for adaptation.

Session Block C – Wednesday, July 13


Affordable, Adaptable, Plant Science for Your Community Wherever They Are
Lee Coykendall | Senior Education Specialist | United States Botanic Garden
Maura Nelson | Education Specialist, Access Programs and Services | United States Botanic Garden
Grace Anderson | Education Specialist | United States Botanic Garden

This workshop has something for everyone. Participants will build a carnivorous plant model and discuss its potential use with students. Presenters will then share challenges and opportunities that arose as they adapted this lesson for the virtual world. Through small group discussion, and the creation of a botanical field page, participants will experience the impact of connecting with children’s emotions and providing a hands-on component– especially when teaching virtually. Participants will leave the workshop with an activity plan, lesson resources, a technology guide for adapting to various virtual platforms, and troubleshooting tips – fully equipped to engage learners in their communities wherever they are.

Exploring FoodPrints Curriculum with the Three Sisters Garden
Margie Fineran | Lead Teacher | FRESHFARM FoodPrints
Claire Hall | Lead Teacher | FRESHFARM FoodPrints
Alexi Iglesias | Assistant Teacher | FRESHFARM FoodPrints
Vonnie Love | Lead Teacher | FRESHFARM FoodPrints

Join us to learn more about how the FoodPrints Curriculum’s interdisciplinary approach to teaching food, garden and environmental education themes can be used in your program and our alignment to the Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core, and Pilot Light Food Education Standards. In this session, participants explore a First Grade lesson on the Three Sisters Garden to teach learners about companion planting connected to indigenous gardening practices. The lesson shared in this session models teaching practices that support teamwork, social-emotional learning, cooperation, and developing habits of discussion in the classroom. Each attendee will receive a copy of the Three Sisters lessons with detailed instructions and free access to FoodPrints 63 lessons for PreK-5.

Think Small and Investigate the World Around You
David Pippin | Master Instructor | Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom
Tammy Maxey | Programs Director | Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom

How many discoveries can be made by exploring a tiny piece of landscape? How do we encourage our students to focus in a world of constant bombardment of visual stimuli? We are missing the wonders of nature right before our eyes! By narrowing a student’s focus to small spaces, we increase their attention to detail and students realize another level of life just below the lens. Join this session to take a focused walk through the garden. Using small focal points, lead your students to new discoveries of the smallest matter. All participants will receive a resource kit ready for use in your classroom.

Early Childhood Learn, Grow, Eat & GO!
Randy Seagraves | Curriculum Coordinator, International Junior Master Gardener Program | Texas A&M University
Nicole Hansen | Community Based Instructor, Youth Horticulture Education Program | University of Nevada, Reno

Your students will LOVE crawling through roots in your Underground Root Table and building a Sunflower Seed Head as they learn where seeds come from! Early Childhood Learn, Grow, Eat & GO is an easy-to-implement, garden-based curriculum for teachers of early childhood students from Head Start through kindergarten. The 4-week school garden curriculum project, combines the best of plant & garden learning, food exposure, brain & body-boosting physical activities, and novel, effective parental engagement! If you work with preK through kinder audiences, don’t miss the fun, hand-on workshop that will include free EC LGEG resources and curriculum door prizes!

Power of Networks: Mutual Support for the Youth Garden Movement
Tristana Pirkl | Director | School Garden Support Organization Network
Em Shipman | Executive Director | KidsGardening
Sam Ullery | School Garden Specialist | Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Washington DC

In the youth garden movement, as in many movements, networks are critical for the success and resilience of individual programs, as well as for the whole. Join presenters to learn how being part of a network can strengthen your garden program and propel it to the next level, all while helping you to feel supported and sustained by your community. Discover the diversity of youth garden networks that exist in the U.S., explore how to develop or deepen your own program’s network, and learn how to contribute to youth garden networks in your local and wider communities to strengthen the collective movement.

Preventing Plant Blindness: Using phenology of plants to engage children (Cancelled)
Dr. Mary Legoria | Science Lab Teacher | Westdale Heights Academic Magnet Elementary School
Dr. Pamela Blanchard | Associate Professor, Science Education | LSU School of Education

Educational research and observations have long recognized a lack of engagement that children and adults have with plants and with nature in general. Casual observations of children and families in children’s gardens at schools and within large botanical gardens will note how rare it is for a child to actually stop to consider a flower or plant. How can botanical gardens engage young (and old) guests with the actual plants? In this workshop, we will share strategies using phenology (the study of cyclic and seasonal changes – especially in relation to climate, plant, and animal life) to engage families, school groups, and other visitor groups in specific conversations about plants and animals in garden settings.

Teaching the Water Cycle with a Terrarium
Dr. Douglas Airhart | Professor of Horticulture | Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville

Although critical to sustainability of our environment, the water cycle is often not fully appreciated or understood. This presentation will introduce the key words and concepts of the water cycle in a terrarium.
The discussion will include the balance and interaction of air, water, light, temperature, and mineral nutrition that are critical to maintaining healthy plants, all visible in a terrarium. Find out what containers might be used, and to how to make one including discussion of root substrates, plant selection, and culture considerations, and lighting and watering requirements and concerns.

Session Block D – Wednesday, July 13


Powerful Partnerships for Leaning Horticulture: National Park and Master Gardeners (Cancelled)
Sherley Channing | Master Gardener | Green Spring Gardens

With increasing frequency, Master Gardeners are partnering with other institutions to develop educational gardening opportunities. With new partnerships come challenges that must be addressed in order ensure activities are successful and appropriate. Wolf Trap National Park and Master Gardeners successfully collaborated to expand a native woodland garden to educate underserved students and the public about native plants. Learn how the partners navigated the challenges and developed educational garden tours, garden activities and hands-on public demonstrations to meet the interests and learning needs of youth and adult visitors and successfully provided the necessary training to Master Gardeners.

Regenerative Agriculture: Growing a Sustainable School & Community
Emily Umbarger | Director of Sustainability, Instructor of Agricultural Science | Interlochen Center for the Arts

Attendees will learn about the multi-level effort that Interlochen’s regenerative agriculture program and sustainability department has developed since 2017. In this award-winning program, high school students utilize community service and a regenerative agricultural science class to interact with local schools, the cafeteria, local food pantry, community volunteers, and public classes to grow together. With the role of students nestled at the heart of all programming, place-based learning drives a rich and biodiverse curriculum for students to fall in love with nature and science. Attendees will learn about Interlochen’s robust community engagement, grant funding resources and tips for winning over administrative support!

Bringing Nature In
Nathan Brauner | Virginia Master Naturalist and Master Gardener | York County Master Gardeners

While York County, Virginia has long had nesting boxes for small cavity nesting birds (such
as bluebirds) as part of its schoolyard habitat program, integrating cameras into the classroom posed several logistical challenges. With a few modification, we solved these issues and dramatically expanded the program and the number of students involved. The new set-up allows any teacher the ability to show their students activity in the box, either in real time, or in recorded clips. The session will explain how our nesting boxes and cameras operate, and show examples of how the live and recorded videos can be used to reinforce classroom instruction, standards of learning, and enrichment programs.

Developing and Expanding Countywide School Garden Programs
Kim Kogler | Education Specialist | Okanogan Conservation District
Kim Romain-Bondi | Executive Director | Classroom in Bloom

When Okanogan Conservation District and Classroom in Bloom partnered to create a countywide school garden program, only two school gardens consistently provided outdoor education, one of which was Classroom in Bloom. The two organizations created the Okanogan County School Garden Network to gather and create resources for schools interested in starting garden programs. Now, eight school gardens participate in the network. Join presenters as we dive deep into the provided resources and identify the tools and methods to sustaining a countywide garden program. Participants will glean new ideas to implement in their own programs as they learn more about the countywide approach to revitalizing and supporting school gardens in a low-income, rural community.

Abolitionist Teaching in the Garden: Centering Equity and Inclusion
Dr. Scott Morrison | Associate Professor | Elon University
Dani Toma-Harrold | Elon University

Abolitionist teaching is about dismantling systems of oppression by confronting and pushing back against anti-Blackness. Nature- and community-based approaches to education, such as garden-based learning, can be forms of abolitionist teaching when they center students’ cultural experiences, find ways to promote healing and love, and undermine white supremacy. In this interactive session, participants will engage in conversations on ways they can center equity and inclusion in garden-based education to foster a sense of belonging, enhance engagement, deepen learning, and ultimately decenter whiteness. We will also share examples of what abolitionist teaching in the garden looks like in practice and crowdsource additional possibilities from participants.

Session Block E – Thursday, July 14


Enhancing nature and garden education through music and movement
Ashly Tamayo | Farm Educator | Coastal Roots Farm

The session will include learning songs and dances related to outdoor education as well as a songwriting workshop. Because there are so many topics to teach that can benefit from music and movement, we often have to write our own songs. By using familiar tunes and writing our own lyrics, we are able to expand the resources available to us as environmental educators. A song book will be provided to participants that includes lyrics, links to recorded YouTube videos for learning dances and finger plays and guitar chords. We will explore ways to incorporate musical instruments in an outdoor setting and ways to promote cultural diversity through music and movement.

From Fear to Fascination: Using Curiosity to Overcome Apprehension
Lillian Ledford | Environmental Educator | University of Virginia’s Blandy Experimental Farm and the State Arboretum of Virginia

Learners often come to scientific or outdoor learning with a range of apprehensions such as unfamiliarity with the topic, fear of potential dangers, or concerns with navigating new settings. Blandy educators have found that by engaging scientific inquiry though artistic expression students “forget” to be frightened while unknowingly honing skills of observation; anxiety is replaced by curiosity. Encouraging visual, linguistic, or even kinesthetic expression of observations also increases student engagement across a diversity of learning styles and abilities. In this workshop, we will explore techniques of art-supported, differentiated, hands-on scientific inquiry via a subject many people are leery of: insects. We will also discuss application and modification of this method to fit different topics and learning environments.

Cultivating Resilience in Youth with Deep Nature Connections
JoAnn Yates | Horticultural Therapist & Healing Touch Practitioner | The Centers for Exceptional Children

Since the beginning of time, Nature has provided sensory experiences that enhance our resilience, sense of connection, and well-being. Honoring Nature as both teacher and guide, we will explore attributes that support resilience and ways that Nature provides the ultimate classroom to develop these skills in ourselves and those we serve. We will spend time in Nature exploring various sensory and mindfulness practices that will nurture a deep sense of connection with self, others, and the world. The practices learned in the workshop can easily be adapted for a wide range of age and ability levels. The focus will be on specific activities that are fun and engaging as a way to cultivate resilience in the youth we mentor.

Gardens to Go and Plantology Kits – Long-Distance Learning
Dr. Shelley Mitchell | Associate Extension Specialist | Oklahoma State University

This session will describe one Extension Specialist’s take on distance learning (during COVID) in Oklahoma – particularly for students with no internet access at home or in their predominately rural community. Easily made kits for both grade schoolers (18 activities) and older students (12 more detailed activities) were created to help students explore different areas of horticulture, and all supplies fit into in one lunchbox or backpack.

Ecosystems Learning through Observations of School Garden Butterflies (Cancelled)
Dr. Amy Goodall | Associate Professor | James Madison University

Vegetable and wildflower gardens attract a diversity of pollinators and therefore provide many opportunities for studies of ecosystem processes such as pollination, metamorphosis, symbiosis, and responses to climate changes. This workshop provides an overview of a garden-based ecosystem learning program that has involved students from elementary to university levels for 10+ years. Participants will actively engage in how to begin learning and teaching about butterfly families and species, and how to assess butterfly diversity. Observations made by students will show the utility of butterfly studies in school gardens for discovering relationships between flowers and pollinators, and how animals respond to changes over time.

Tackling Tree Equity and Taking Climate Action
Dr. Carrie Strohl | Lead Dirt Girl | The School Garden Doctor

Dirt Girls has been planting empowerment and cultivating equity through garden-based education since 2016. What started as a practical way to maintain a school garden has adapted to fill a gap in out-of-school science experiences while also addressing environmental issues in the community. In 2022, we committed to engaging youth in taking climate action through learning about and planting trees. This session will introduce a research-based framework for empowering girls in science and lead participants in several activities for tree exploration. We will discuss the ways in which climate change disproportionately impacts women and how tree planting can mitigate some of the worst effects. Finally, we will explore the idea of Tree Equity and envision what climate-resilient communities look like.

Go Decomposers! Hands-on Indoor Composting Projects
Lillian Dean | Coordinator, Healthy Gardens Project | Southeastern Oakland County Water Authority

This session will demonstrate two hands-on indoor projects that teach the fascinating process of decomposition, beginning with useful vocabulary, the benefits and challenges teaching about compost, and curriculum connections (especially 3rd – 4th grade science). For both projects, the junk garden project and the orange pail composting, the presenter will demonstrate the steps for set up, project maintenance, observation, and compost utilization. The session will conclude with variations for different educational
settings including classrooms, nature centers, camp, and Master Composter training.

Session Block F – Thursday, July 14


Sowing Cemeteries and Seed Libraries: Inspiration from Shipley’s Horticulture Program
Sarah Sterling | Coordinator of Educational Horticulture | The Shipley School

Every school needs horticulture. But not every school needs a garden to have a thriving and therapeutic horticulture program. From grave gardening to flower show competitions, this session will spotlight The Shipley School’s unique approach to educational horticulture. Join the presenter on an exploration of Shipley’s most recent projects, but be prepared for book worms, lettuce bombs, and several instances of dumpster diving! Participants will leave with programming ideas to inspire and expand school-based horticulture at their institutions.

Grant Writing 101
Franke Smith | Educator | Watson-Brown Foundation

In this session, we will explore grant writing pitfalls and success strategies to help NCYGS attendees move forward, confident in their ability to secure funding for small special projects and larger initiatives. We will also discuss the grant process from the perspective of the grant provider, and look at some grants that are currently available for school gardens, as well as environmental and outdoor education.

Sparking Curiosity with Plant Heroes
Suzanne Hartley | Plant Protection Program Assistant | American Public Gardens Association
Tyler Hale | Plant Protection Program Manager | American Public Gardens Association

Want to get kids curious about forest health? Plant Heroes sparks curiousity about the natural world and empowers kids to become agents of positive environmental change regardless of their cultural, religious, or socioeconomic backgrounds. Join presenters to learn about new K-5 lesson plans, grab-and-go journals, and updated activity books available in English, Spanish, and simplified Chinese. This session will introduce lesson plans that incorporate Next Generation Science Standards and multiple teaching strategies such as place-based learning, storytelling, nature play, art, and movement.

Unearth Your Next Outreach Program
Heather Drzal | Director of School and Youth Programs | Longwood Gardens
Michelle Cugini | School and Youth Program Manager  | Longwood Gardens
Emily Gerber | Engagement and Learning Intern | Longwood Gardens

Are you looking for a new way to reach K-12 students? Unearth It! is a series of innovative learning projects for schools developed by Longwood Gardens and its educational partners. Unearth It! aims to spark curiosity and instigate learning while creating memorable and impactful moments for students. The Great Debate, the first project in the Unearth It! Series, uses the context of horticulture to pose a real-life question for students to research, develop, present, and debate. Growing Minds encourages students to grow their leadership skills while exploring their local environment. Discover more about the Unearth It! series and how to work with educational partners to create your own outreach programs.

You Belong Here: Accessibility and Inclusion Strategies for Outdoor Learning
Hannah Wittwer | Volunteer and Education Manager | Shalom Farms

To make every visit to our farm a magical one, we must account for the widely ranging needs, experiences and concerns that influence a student’s comfort in and enjoyment of outdoor spaces and outdoor work. In this session, we’ll discuss common challenges that arise when engaging young learners on the farm (or in the garden), and will explore strategies for meeting students where they are in order to build positive relationships with food, farming and the natural world. We’ll also talk through task adaptations, accommodations and other supports that can be used to help all students feel at home outdoors.

Energizing Children’s Garden: Shoestring Budget, Low Tech, Lots of Heart
Pamela Smith | Master Gardener Coordinator | Green Spring Gardens

Join this session to learn concrete, replicable ways to renovate a children’s garden with a very small budget, volunteer labor, and environmentally sustainable materials. Our goal is to educate and inspire young children and their families to become environmental stewards and nurture a love of all things gardening and nature. At the garden center, there currently is an edible/herb garden that changes out every two years to keep the design fresh and encourages return visits. Participants will leave with the design, ideas for hands-on activities, and photos of popular structures with young gardeners.

Session Block G – Friday, July 15


Growing Gardens, Growing Learners, While Making a Lasting Impact
Laurie Witt | STEM Teacher K-5 | Albert Harris Elementary School

This session will introduce the concept and components of a green school yard and highlight how curriculum related to green learning environments can be integrated across subjects. The session will prepare attendees to start thinking about building and utilizing a green schoolyard. Information will be shared about necessary first steps as well as how to reach out to community partners and find funding for necessary materials and resources. For schools that already have something in place, information will be presented about how to grow and expand an existing program to better meet the needs of educators and students as well as the surrounding community. Educators will learn how to integrate hands-on learning into their existing curriculum to meet required standards at all grade levels. We will discuss how the green schoolyard concept addresses standards at each grade level as well as scaffolds as students’ knowledge builds.

Engagement in the Garden: Planning Focused and Fun Outdoor Lessons!
Nan Pena | Program Coordinator | Greater Richmond Fit4Kids

Have you noticed that student engagement has been more challenging since March 2020? It’s time to get creative! Come learn successful strategies for engaging garden lessons including kinesthetic tactics, classroom management techniques, fresh food tastings, and more. Further, participants will learn best practices on how to plan for a season of lessons with a creative curriculum that coincides with what’s happening in the garden. We will also share hands-on strategies such as examples of kits and supplies for further engagement or virtual lessons. Intended for both novice and experienced garden educators, join us for a workshop that will help you think outside of the box next time you’re lesson planning!

Social Emotional Learning in the Garden
Amy Bowman | STEM Education Extension Associate | Plants for Human Health Institute
Doug Vernon | Extension Assistant Outreach | Plants for Human Health Institute

The pandemic has brought heightened awareness to stress, anxiety and other mental and emotional health issues among students. Participants in this session will learn how to incorporate social emotional learning strategies into the school garden or outdoor classroom through hands on activities. We will explore the five areas of social emotional learning and how they relate to the outdoor classroom.

Pollination Empowerment: Student Led Garden Design
Candace Lutzow-Felling | Director of Education | Blandy Experimental Farm/University of Virginia
Emily Ford | Lead Environmental Educator | Blandy Experimental Farm/University of Virginia

Blandy Experimental Farm educators will share strategies to transform garden planning and planting into a student-led collaborative project that incorporates learning and skill development in science, math, and English classes. We will explore the design process used with 4th grade students to reestablish pollination gardens and discuss strategies to scaffold this student-centered approach for middle and high school students. We also will share a suite of lessons developed to build students’ knowledge and skills essential to designing their gardens, including selecting appropriate plants. The workshop will end with discussion of ways to apply and modify this method to fit different geographic locations and learning environments.

Summer Camps at Your Community or School Garden
Kim Romain-Bondi | Executive Director | Classroom in Bloom

In 2018-2020, Classroom in Bloom created a very successful 4-6 week summer camp program for children ages 6-10 yrs old – even throughout the pandemic. We’ll help you harness children’s energy in the garden into an inquiry-based learning environment, packed with engaging activities. We will provide a daily schedule and rotate through inquiry-based activities that highlight our camp-themes such as Art in the Garden, Garden Games, Garden Pollination, Ethnobotany, Nature’s Musical Garden and Garden Chefs. We will present our budget, including steps taken to give access to any child that wishes to participate in camps, and highlight methods to be Covid-safe while filling every camp session.

Teaching in a Public Garden in Hawaii: Relevance and Kuleana
Jenna Watling | Education Specialist | Lyon Arboretum

The unique character of Hawaii presents challenges as well as opportunities when designing education offerings. A perennial consideration for educators at Lyon Arboretum is how to create programs that are relevant to the universal topics and ideas addressed in the Next Generation Science Standards and  simultaneously make use of the local, native, and endemic plants of Hawaii. Join a facilitated discussion about relevance and place-based education. “Kuleana” is a Hawaiian word with a complex meaning that is often translated as “responsibility.” In this conversation, we will discuss our kuleana to our respective communities, explore different meanings of “place-based,” and swap strategies for developing engaging and relevant education programs.

Lessons from Nature: The Uniqueness of Seeds
Sarah Croscutt | Owner/Facilitator | From the Outside LLC

Seeds are as diverse as the plants that emerge from their tightly closed cases. Like seeds, humans are extraordinarily diverse. In this multi-sensory, hands-on workshop, we will explore the uniqueness of seeds. Seed packets include the information that one needs for successful growing. Using seed packets and seeds as inspiration, each attendee will design a seed packet that illustrates and details their own unique set of “growing instructions,” the conditions in which he/she/they will germinate, grow, and, blossom. The presenter will provide other ideas and activities that are suitable in the classroom, garden, or other educational setting to cultivate a child’s connection to the natural world, themselves, and each other.