Let’s Learn!

The annual NCYGS is entering its 32nd year as the national model for youth gardening education. 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. 

Read on for descriptions of the 2024 Sessions.

For questions about the Symposium, please contact Director of National Programs Courtney Allen at programs@ahsgardening.org / (703) 768-5700, ext. 121.



Session Block A: Tuesday Afternoon Workshops

Landscape Design for Sustainable Youth Gardens
Sarah Pounders, Senior Education Specialist, KidsGardening – Burlington, VT
Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA,
Amy Wagenfeld Design and University of Washington Department of Landscape Architecture – Seattle, WA

This session will introduce the basic steps and elements of landscape design, emphasizing the importance of incorporating universal design principles to ensure the final garden is sustainable and suitable for all. Youth gardens provide important opportunities for kids to play, learn, and grow through plant-based and garden-based activities. To achieve a high level of engagement in the garden, adults designing the garden must be able to view the world through the eyes of a child and focus on how kids can enjoy and feel comfortable interacting with the space. At the same time, the space must also be safe, accessible, visually appealing, and easy to maintain. Presenters Dr. Amy Wagenfeld of Amy Wagenfeld Design and University of Washington Department of Landscape Architecture, and Sarah Pounders, Senior Education Specialist at KidsGardening will take you through the process of completing a needs assessment and site analysis and share case studies of garden installations from beginning to end to demonstrate the use of basic design principles. Participants will leave with the design knowledge to plan a sustainable garden that meets both program and audience needs.

Science and Literacy Outside and In: Infusing Literacy into Garden-Based Learning
Emily M. Ford, Lead Environmental Educator, State Arboretum of Virginia & UVA’s Blandy Experimental Farm – Boyce, VA
Candace Lutzow-Felling, Director of Education, UVA’s Blandy Experimental Farm and State Arboretum of Virginia – Boyce, VA

This workshop will educate participants on how teaching reading and writing literacy can increase the connection to science-based outdoor programs. This session is presented by State Arboretum of Virginia environmental educators who collaborated with public school educators to develop outdoor-based activities and lessons that link science and literacy using both non-fiction and fiction books. These activities connected the indoor and outdoor classroom lessons to the State Arboretum of Virginia’s garden and collection specimens as well as to schoolyards. In addition, the formal classroom was extended into outdoor learning environments, creating deeper connections to the natural world and bringing meaningful context to young learners. In this session, we will share how our collaborative curriculum and activities were developed. Participants will engage in an example activity outdoors. We will share resources and provide links to lessons that participants can use and modify for their teaching/learning environments.

Grow, Heal, Thrive: Incorporating T-I Principles into Children’s Garden Education
Rita Palmer, Training Specialist, Leah’s Pantry – Oroville, CA

This session works to help participants understand the basic principles of trauma-informed care and offers garden educators a toolkit to create safe and supportive environments for all children, ensuring that every student feels safe, seen, heard, and valued while participating in garden programs. Through hands-on activities and group discussion, session participants will explore ways to incorporate trauma-informed principles into garden education for youth. At the end of this session, participants will be able to draw upon three important skills: First, describe practical applications for establishing the garden as a space for healing and community collaboration. Second, apply strategies for trauma-informed instruction in a garden setting. And third, create a custom plan for integrating trauma-informed practices in a garden program. This workshop aims to inspire a collective commitment to fostering resilience and well-being in youth through trauma-informed garden education. By participating in this session, educators will play a vital role in creating nurturing environments that empower the youth they serve to thrive and flourish.

Cultivating Curiosity Quickly: How to Design Discovery Carts that Work for Learners and Educators
Grace Anderson, Science Education Specialist, United States Botanic Garden – Washington, D.C.

Sometimes we have only a few minutes to cultivate a connection with our young garden visitors, so, how do we make the most of those moments with engaging experiences? Join U.S. Botanic Garden Science Education Specialist Grace Anderson to learn about the USBG’s hands-on drop-in discovery carts, which explore mission-centered plant science topics. Grace will share how focusing on learner-centered design has created a replicable discovery cart model that is successful (and fun) for both young learners and facilitators. During the workshop, you’ll see examples of what’s worked at the USBG, then dive into planning your own cart. We’ll discuss how to explore science concepts like adaptation and pollination in ways that are relevant and accessible to youth as well as strategies for preparing facilitators to be experts on cultivating kids’ curiosity. You’ll brainstorm in small groups with fellow educators, test out thinking routines, and use the USBG’s model to build your own framework for a discovery cart topic relevant to your garden.

‘Ohana Garden & Grindz: An Intergenerational Approach to Engaging Youth and Families in the Garden and the Kitchen
Heather Greenwood, Extension Faculty, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, CTAHR-Cooperative Extension – Kahului, HI
Jennifer Hawkins, Extension Faculty, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, CTAHR-Cooperative Extension – Hoolehua, HI
Marielle Hampton, Extension Faculty, University of Hawaii at Mānoa, CTAHR-Cooperative Extension – Kealakekua, HI

Hawaii’s families face many food security challenges common to those in other rural areas, including extreme geographic isolation, high food imports, and food chain supply disruptions. Since 2018 a team of University of Hawaiʻi Cooperative Extension faculty has developed, adapted, and expanded ʻOhana Garden & Grindz, a hybrid in-person/virtual, multigenerational, garden-to-table program that functions as a strategy to address some aspects of household food insecurity through an educational, family engagement process. This session will introduce attendees to the project, curriculum, and outcomes followed by hands-on experiences with learning activities and ending with discussion and brainstorming for project replication. ʻOhana Garden & Grindz was designed with replication in mind and can be implemented by organizations that serve families with youth between the ages of 9-12. The ‘Ohana Garden & Grindz Project is administered through the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture/National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Rural Health and Safety Education Program.

Building a Sustainable School Garden Program
Liz Morris, VP of Operations, Green Our Planet – Las Vegas, NV

There is nothing quite like the experiential learning that a garden can provide. To create and maintain a successful garden program at a school, there are three main ‘pillars’ in place to make it sustainable. This workshop will share the three pillars: finance, garden maintenance, and school culture. The first pillar is finance. We all need money to build and maintain a garden. We will walk through the many ways to fundraise and gain partners that can provide funding. Second, we will cover how to maintain a garden and all that is necessary to keep it running from year to year. Lastly, we will discuss how to make your garden part of the school culture and how to get other colleagues, parents, and community members involved. Teachers will leave with concrete ideas and plans to help them with the next step in creating a learning laboratory at their school!

Session Block B: Wednesday Morning Workshops

Theme-based Garden Design and Education in a Pollination Garden
Carrie Whitacre, Assistant Curator of Herbaceous Gardens, Blandy Experimental Farm/The State Arboretum of Virginia – Boyce, VA
Candace Lutzow-Felling, Director of Education, State Arboretum of Virginia – Boyce, VA
Emily Ford, Lead Environmental Educator, State Arboretum of Virginia – Boyce, VA

This workshop melds landscape design with curriculum design and implementation. State Arboretum of Virginia Assistant Curator and Environmental Educators will share how we collaborated to identify themes and strategies for the redesign and renovation of our Pollination Garden. Our goals were to ensure the garden would provide multiple opportunities for formal, hands-on education programs for K-12 and informal, interpretive driven educational experiences for youth visitors. Session participants will learn strategies for building an educational Pollination Garden from the ground up utilizing mid-Atlantic native and other plants selected for their unique plant-pollinator interactions and pollination mechanisms. We will explore the design process including how to read your site, ensure accessibility, and identify themes that guide the entire process. Outside we will engage in some of the standards-based activities that Arboretum educators created for elementary school groups using the plant and insect resources of the pollination garden. Each year, over 1500 students and numerous youth visitors learn about plant-insect adaptations and pollination mechanisms in our garden. We will close our workshop with a discussion of how to implement some of the garden design and education use ideas in participants’ garden spaces.

Exploring Social-Emotional Learning Through Nature-Focused Children’s Literature
Emma Donnelly, Lead Preschool Teacher, Chicago Botanic Garden – Glencoe, IL

In this workshop, explore the connection between emergent, seasonal curriculum and social-emotional classroom dynamics. Learn about high-quality children’s literature that combines nature and social-emotional learning; identify ways to use nature-themed children’s books to build social-emotional skills; and practice applying a social-emotional lens to classic, nature-themed children’s books through classroom scenarios and small-group discussion.

Participants will learn about children’s books that address nature topics through the seasons while addressing social-emotional learning. They will then practice applying a social-emotional framework to classic, nature-themed books during hands-on, small group discussions.

Mindful Wellness in Cityscapes- Join the Urban Garden Stewardship Journey
Selma Núñez, Founder, Agricumami Consulting, LLC – Bronx, NY
Kashon Dubose, Cultivatorsbx – Bronx, NY

In this terrarium session, our goal is to provide a safe space for individuals to explore the calming effects of nature, discuss mental health and promote self-care practices, and build terrariums as a tool for introspection and emotional reflection. The terrarium-building workshop serves as a platform within our Cultivators organization, fostering mental health discussions by engaging participants in therapeutic, nature-focused activities, promoting reflection, and nurturing emotional well-being through hands-on experiences with nature. As a follow-up to mindfulness in the realm of food, we will continue the experiential learning with smart snack preparation. We will explore recipe reading along with ingredient identification to compare to the USDA-recommended MyPlate guidance.

Cultivators highlights the importance of instilling values and a love for nature in the next generation. The best part of this experiential nature journey is connecting with next-generation English Language Arts, inspired by reading the ‘Last Child in the Woods’ by Richard Louv. It is what drives us to bring nature to the forefront of urban living all while exploring skillsets required by state learning standards that will give students a hands-on approach to problem-solving long term.

Coming to Our Senses: Fun & Easy Ways to Use Gardens and Greenspaces to Enrich Sensory Integration
Em Shipman, Executive Director, KidsGardening – Burlington, VT
Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA, Amy Wagenfeld Design and University of Washington Department of Landscape Architecture – Seattle, WA

Increasingly, we are finding that children are demonstrating sensory integration challenges that present as behavioral challenges, anxiety, and being overwhelmed. These issues can impact learning and play. Join occupational therapist and therapeutic landscape design consultant Amy Wagenfeld and mom, gardener, and KidsGardening Executive Director Em Shipman to learn how to design a garden or greenspace for kids ages 3-5 intended to engage each of the body’s sensory systems. We’ll share five specific activities to use in a garden or greenspace to help young children integrate and organize their senses, as well as tips and tricks for managing challenging sensory-related behaviors.

Goldilocks and the Three Lessons: Using Literature to Compose Hands-on Experiences that are “Just Right” for Your Class
Jordan Nickels, School & Youth Programs Manager, Bookworm Gardens – Sheboygan, WI
Rachel Marsden, Preschool Director, Bookworm Gardens – Sheboygan, WI
Bianca Beilke, Early Childhood Education Coordinator, Bookworm Gardens – Sheboygan, WI

Join members of the Bookworm Gardens team and discover how to incorporate children’s literature into outdoor exploration and play. During this workshop, experienced educators will guide you through the process of selecting and using literature to serve as a foundation for nature-based learning. Our educators will show you how storytelling can be used as a tool to inspire learners to reflect on the relationship between themselves, their peers, and the natural world. Participants will be immersed in three hands-on experiences that connect nature to stories and imaginative play. Leave with ideas on how to streamline your curriculum by using the same base materials and adding in elements that cater a lesson to your targeted age group.

This workshop will be led by Bookworm Gardens (Sheboygan, Wisconsin), a non-profit botanic garden with 7.5-acres and 75+ gardens, each inspired by a children’s book. With the mission “to inspire the love of books and nature in the young and young at heart,” staff creatively combine horticultural and artistic elements to create mini environments that are inspired by books such as Winnie the Pooh, Frog and Toad, and the Magic Tree House.

Playful Approaches to Environmental Education in the Early Years
Lisa Martinez, Garden Education Consultant, Garden Play Project – San Jose, CA
Danielle Webb, Director of Partnerships, Educare Silicon Valley – San Jose, CA

Educare Silicon Valley and Garden Play Project have joined forces to create a deeply authentic approach to environmental literacy and place-based learning for children that emphasizes the role of play and collaboration. This session will explore our commitment to embracing and engaging our multicultural, multigenerational community as well as investigate the intentionality behind how and why we gather in gardens. As we discuss the many opportunities outdoor engagement provides to both children and adults alike, workshop participants will gain insight and knowledge from their peers. Participants will leave with a garden play plan template and their very own custom designed garden-based art! Through this session, we hope to provide participants with the tools they need to create an inclusive, experiential learning environment for their own communities.

Session Block C: Wednesday Morning Lectures

Tree Equity and Education (TrEE): Integrated Project-based Environmental Education for Equity in the Ethic Studies Classroom
Nicolasa Hernandez, Community Naturalist for Central & Southeast Seattle, City of Seattle Parks & Recreation – Seattle, WA
Penny Rose, Public Education Program Specialist/School Programs Coordinator, City of Seattle Parks & Recreation – Seattle, WA

TrEE began as an initiative to allow students to develop a firsthand understanding of the impact of tree canopy as reflected in the socioeconomic disparities of green spaces. Our work helps to illustrate how access to green space, habitat restoration, and experiential learning benefit BIPOC youth in a post-pandemic urban setting. TrEE also allows students to learn outdoors and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

Our community partnerships allow us to successfully connect underserved audiences to outdoor spaces in a safe and responsive way while fostering meaningful relationships in community. TrEE is a 7-month project that incorporates nature education, habitat restoration, social and emotional learning, time to enjoy nature, and more. This program is designed to be equitable and accessible. Each of our partners brings a different unique perspective and expertise to the table, which we will share with photos and stories.

TrEE Project is held at the Maple School Ravine in Southeast Seattle, a historic orchard that had been neglected and abused over the years. In 2023, we worked with 330+ students from Grover Cleveland STEM High School, providing them with weekly site visits, complete with tools, gloves, plants, and trained guides at no cost.

A Culture Shift Towards Co-Creation for Inclusive Storytelling
Meera Jagroop, Director of Youth Programs, Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Brooklyn, NY
Chelsea Forgenie, School Workshops Coordinator, Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Brooklyn, NY
Karen Wylie, Manager of Discovery Garden and Family Programs, Brooklyn Botanic Garden – Brooklyn, NY

The plant stories we choose to tell our youth have the power to communicate a message: these stories matter. Throughout history, gardens have omitted perspectives of people across culture, race, ability, class, and gender. To be truly inclusive, gardens must re-evaluate whose stories are told through their education programs, exhibits, and even plant selection. One strategy to introduce a fuller spectrum of voices into your garden is co-creation. Co-creation is an in-depth, long-term way of collaborating that invites other people and groups to plan and design entire experiences with your organization, from ideation through evaluation.

This session will share the evolution of Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Plants of Little Caribbean project, a celebration of plants cherished by Caribbean people that spark stories of rebellion, resilience, spirituality, and joy. Attendees will explore two questions: How can co-creation expand my garden’s welcome? How can I implement this practice in my garden? You’ll leave this session with access to BBG’s co-creation guide and resources, as well as actionable strategies to create a more inclusive storytelling culture at your garden—no matter your role.

Internship and Apprenticeship: Establishing Pathways to Employment in the Food System
Leah Hillman, Senior Impact Manager, Jones Valley Teaching Farm – Birmingham, AL
Shundria Mack, Senior Instructor, Jones Valley Teaching Farm – Birmingham AL
Sedrick Burton, Senior Farm Manager, Jones Valley Teaching Farm – Birmingham, AL

Using food as the foundation, Jones Valley Teaching Farm’s (JVTF) Good School Food educational model brings learning to life. At the Center for Food Education, located in downtown Birmingham, as well as at seven partner schools, JVTF Instructors teach, farm, cook, and build with over 5,000 PreK-12th grade students on vibrant Teaching Farms, annually.

In 2015, JVTF launched the High School Internship, which employs juniors and seniors while they earn course credit and engage in production on a two-acre diversified urban farm. Interns also participate in personal and workforce development opportunities. In 2018, JVTF established the apprenticeship to help Birmingham City School graduates gain traction in meaningful careers. This full-time, year-long Apprenticeship pairs on-the-job training with tutoring, credentialing, career and higher-education exposure, and workforce development training. Both Interns and Apprentices contribute to the organization’s direction and success. Last year, 33% of JVTF staff were graduates of our programs.

Join us to discuss the successes and challenges of our program and how they can guide the implementation of similar programs.  

Sprout School: Building School Garden Capacity in Central Appalachia
Jenny Totten, Strategy and Impact Officer, Future Generations University – Franklin, WV
Margaret Donnan, Youth Education Associate, Future Generations University – Franklin, WV

This lecture will introduce Sprout School, a training program initially developed through Northeast SARE funding which combines virtual meetups, learning labs, in person networking opportunities, and 1-1 coaching with experts to build capacity with educators to manage youth garden projects. The goal is to empower educators to create environments within their schools for agricultural education and career development related to the agricultural industry. Rather than creating an entirely new curriculum for youth, Sprout School creates a framework to make existing curriculum more effective for educators. This program was built to serve educators where they are, in their classrooms and school yards, and to make school gardening accessible at all levels.

Participants in this session will learn about the origins and model for Sprout School, best practices, and success stories so that they can implement similar programming in their home states.

Get Growing! A Calendar for a Parent Volunteer-grown School Garden
Leah Sokolofski Burstein, Willard School Garden PTA Co-Chair, Schools Are Gardening in Evanston (SAGE) – Evanston, IL

This session focuses on how a calendar framework can promote horticultural best practices for parent volunteers to grow an edible School Garden. Highlighting a K-5 public elementary edible School Garden grown by parent volunteers in Evanston, IL, we will explore how the calendar framework brings all the goals of the School Garden into practice. The calendar framework enables parent volunteers to simultaneously meet the horticultural needs of the garden, engage student learning, invite community participation, and embed the program within the school culture.

This Calendar for Horticultural Activities is created around the seasonal weather patterns of the northern climate, the constraints of the traditional school year calendar, and the reality of the limits of parent volunteer time and capacity. The presentation will address how and when to prepare the soil and timing for planting different crops, how to minimally maintain the garden over the summer, and the schedule for harvesting the crops and preparing a School Garden for a northern winter. While it is a replicable blueprint for parent volunteers in northern climates, the Calendar for Horticultural Activities can be adapted to other climates as well. The user-friendly calendar will be shared as a tool for others to apply to their School Garden.

Telling a New STEM Story: Integrating Children’s Books into Youth Gardening Programs
Ruth Spiro, Children’s Book Author, HarperCollins & Penguin Random House – Deerfield, IL

Many of the foundational skills in gardening, science, and STEM in general are also skills that are critical to growing strong readers. These crosscutting concepts include Pattern Recognition skills, understanding Cause and Effect, and Making Predictions. Gardening-themed picture books are an ideal resource for exploring and integrating these concepts. In this session, we’ll examine ways to use children’s books to ignite curiosity, build knowledge, and inspire hands-on learning activities. Connections to NGSS and Common Core Standards for ELA/Literacy will serve as a framework. Following an interactive presentation, attendees will collaborate in small groups to share ways they have successfully incorporated picture books in their programs, and brainstorm ideas for developing future lessons. Attendees will receive recommended book lists and activity guides for select books that they can immediately implement in their classrooms and programs.

Session Block D: Thursday Morning Lectures

Places of Healing and Hope: DUG’s Therapeutic Garden Initiative
Lara Fahnestock, Director of Garden Operations, Denver Urban Gardens – Denver, CO

Natural outdoor spaces are essential for children; they are places of sanctuary, calm and healing. Wide open fields and forests are perfect for this, but what about in an urban environment? Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) has been creating community gardens since 1978 and currently manages 200 community gardens across the Denver Metro area, including 72 school locations. In addition to addressing food access and connecting neighbors, community gardens are places where children can be immersed in and learn from nature, with unrestricted permission to explore and just be a child.

In this workshop, DUG will introduce the Therapeutic Garden Initiative (TGI), a transformational program that designs and develops gardens tailored to support individuals who have undergone trauma, possess unique emotional needs, or seek sensory enrichment. TGI aims to provide sanctuaries where children and families can embark on a journey of recovery and empowerment through the nurturing embrace of nature.

Workshop participants will be introduced to our four focus areas with examples from gardens with different populations and challenges. We will discuss activities and designs that help people feel safe and welcome. Participants will walk away with knowledge they can replicate in their own gardens and with their own communities.

Bookworm Gardens: Bringing Books to Life One Garden at a Time
Cate Tinker, Director of Education and Community Programming, Bookworm Gardens – Sheboygan, WI
Elizabeth Wieland, Executive Director, Bookworm Gardens – Sheboygan, WI

Once upon a time there was a garden, tucked into the trees near Lake Michigan in a town called Sheboygan. Today whimsy, wonder, and the imagination grow wild in this special space created for learners of all ages. During this session, you will learn about Bookworm’s interdisciplinary approach to garden design and curriculum development, gather ideas of how to incorporate children’s literature into your nature-based practice, and come away with a little whimsy of your own! Discover strategies to add diverse books into your design and curriculum while you learn about the mission, vision, and future expansion of this magical space.

Bookworm Gardens (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) is a non-profit botanic garden with 7.5-acres and 75+ gardens, each inspired by a children’s book. With the mission “to inspire the love of books and nature in the young and young at heart,” staff creatively combine horticultural and artistic elements to create mini environments that are inspired by books such as Winnie the Pooh, Frog and Toad, and the Magic Tree House. Recent accolades include a national partnership with Little Free Library to install book boxes filled with diverse texts throughout the community.

USDA Grows Innovation
Summer Skillman, Program Analyst, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Farm to School Program – Alexandria, VA
Angela Rupchock-Schafer, Farm to School Specialist Midwest Regional Office – Chicago, IL
Nina Bhattacharyya, Urban Agriculture Specialist, Office of Urban Agriculture, and Innovation – Gainesville, FL

Across the nation, school gardens are planting seeds of knowledge through innovative agriculture practices like hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical gardens, composting, and new technologies. Farm to school programs help bring local foods into school cafeterias and agricultural education into school settings. Two USDA programs, the Patrick Leahy Farm to School Program (Farm to School Program) and the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP), will join forces to present a session exploring innovative agricultural practices that engage children and youth in sowing, growing, and harvesting edible gardens. You’ll hear stories of schools incorporating hydroponic and greenhouse technologies into their onsite farm, creating innovative agricultural curricula for Pre-K through 12th grade students, employing robust composting strategies, and incorporating school garden-grown produce into school meal programs.

Spend the rest of the session discovering USDA resources, including Farm to School Program and OUAIP grants to help start, implement, and expand innovative agriculture projects at school. You’ll grow your knowledge through interactive conversations with USDA representatives and peers and get introduced to the People’s Garden – a network of gardens facilitated by the USDA that produce local food, practice sustainability, and bring people together to share experiences and lessons learned.

A Chicago Case Study: Collaborating with a Public School District for the Green and Growing Summit
Danielle Russell, Green Schoolyards Program Manager, Openlands – Chicago, IL
Kelly Escarcega, School Garden Coordinator, Openlands – Chicago, IL

In this lecture, we will explore the planning and execution of a large-scale gathering focused on garden, nature, and sustainability education through a collaboration with our school district, Chicago Public Schools, and other nonprofit organizations. Our session will focus on reflecting on and comparing various ways of bringing together educators focused on nature, gardening, and sustainability. Our goals are for each participant to become familiar with lessons learned from hosting a large scale, full day conference, partnering with a large urban school district, and to generate ideas for hosting large scale events for nature, garden, and sustainability educators.

Participants will learn about steps taken to make this a successful event with over 230 attendees, and how to organize a large gathering through information such as cultivating successful and equitable partnerships and increasing the diversity of experiences and facilitators at conferences. Participants will also dream about and share ideas for what large scale events for nature, garden, and sustainability educators can look like in their own communities as a way to create connection between siloed groups of educators.

Utilizing Volunteers and Extension Service for Your Youth Gardens Journey
David Rodriguez, Extension Horticulturist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – San Antonio, TX

This lecture will share examples of successes and challenges of the 20-year Youth Gardens Program in San Antonio/Bexar County, focusing on the Extension’s role in supporting gardens with volunteers and subject matter experts. We will share specific guidelines on how to start, maintain, manage, and sustain youth gardens programs with those resources. We hope to inform participants of the need for and importance of finding, training, utilizing, and managing volunteers with your youth garden program as well as the educational help that your State/County Extension Service provides.

Facilitating Partnerships Between K-12 Schools and Institutions of Higher Education
Scott Morrison, Associate Professor, Elon University
Shavon Via, Exceptional Children’s Teacher, Eastlawn Elementary – Burlington, NC
Sandra Bays, Curriculum Specialist, Elon Elementary – Elon, NC

In this session, we will describe how one institution of higher education partnered with two local elementary schools in central North Carolina to create and maintain school gardens, including the process of funding and installing a high tunnel hoop house at one of the elementary schools. The elementary school garden managers will share their experiences and perspectives on the partnership, highlighting the opportunities and challenges they find most salient. There will be an emphasis on how we established an infrastructure and how continuous communication plays a key role in maintaining the school gardens and hoop house. Finally, we will discuss how the partnership might serve as a model for other K-12 schools and institutions of higher education.