Share your expertise with peers!

The American Horticultural Society is now accepting session proposals for the 32nd annual National Children and Youth Garden Symposium, to be held on Chicago’s North Shore from Monday, July 8 to Thursday, July 11, 2024. We encourage youth garden educators from across the fields to apply! Please review the proposal guidance below and submit your session proposals by Sunday, December 31, 2023. All submissions will be notified in January 2024.

Submit your session proposal here.

Thank you, and good luck!

Session Formats

There are two options for session formats:

  • Talks: 60 minutes, discussing a specific idea, model, or project
  • Workshops: 90 minutes, providing participants with a framework and actively engaging them with hands-on activities

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)

How Sessions Will Be Selected

Each proposal will be considered according to the following criteria:

  • Practical value to practitioners
  • Originality
  • Quality
  • Significance to youth gardening

Sessions will be selected to create a balanced set of offerings for symposium participants. This includes a diversity of topics, intended youth audiences, and speaker representation (such as geographic and organizational representation).

Recommendations for Writing Proposals

  • Make session titles descriptive and specific.
  • Articulate the learning objectives of your session, how they will be achieved, and their relevance and import to your intended audience.
  • The proposal should describe not only your topic – it should also describe the ways you will address your materials and how attendees will participate in the session.

Additional Tips

  • This symposium draws hundreds of youth garden educators from around the United States, from all kinds of workplaces and youth audiences. Please keep this diversity in mind when creating your proposal.
  • Sessions need not be limited to sharing about projects – they can explore models, frameworks, sample activities, and other structures and items that would be of use to youth garden educators.
  • Session proposals should reflect your own experience and/or research in the youth gardening field.

Email with any questions.