Past Symposia


For nearly 30 years, the National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS) has educated thousands of teachers who have, in turn, gone on to educate over a million children: A million children who take this knowledge and apply it to the world around them with curiosity, energy, and genuine appreciation.

AHS Youth Garden Symposia 1993-present

2022 – Richmond, VA

Keynote speakers: Lily Urmann with Rosanna Ayers, Carolyn Schuyler, and Meredith Henne Baker,

2021 – held virtually July 7-9

Keynote speakers: Charles Orgbon, III, Megan Chen and Sheryll Durrant, and a panel featuring Abby Kulpa, Josie Walker, Nathan Stewart, Dr. Hsuan Chen, and Kaylene Argot with moderator Dr. Jessica Turner-Skoff

2020 – held virtually July 8-10

Keynote speakers: Nina Simon of Of/By/For All, Whitney Cohen, and a panel featuring Abra Lee, Brad Austin, Colby Borchetta, Tanner Burgdorf, Aurelie de Rus Jacquet, Meagan Wiesbrock with moderator Susan E. Yoder


2019 – Madison, WI July 10-13


Local hosts: Community GroundWorks, Wisconsin School Garden Network, UW-Madison Environmental Design Lab
Headquartered at UW Extension’s Pyle Center

NCYGS 2019 Event Program

2018 – Ithaca, NY July 11-14


Local hosts: Cornell Garden Based Learning, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Headquartered at Cornell University

NCYGS 2018 Event Program

Community Forum: The Garden as Haven: Finding Resilience and Renewal in Turbulent Times

2017 – Greater Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR Area July 12-15


Local hosts: Oregon Department of Education
Headquartered at the Hilton Vancouver

NCYGS 2017 Event Program

2016 – Columbia, SC July 13-16


Local hosts: Clemson University Extension, Heathwood Hall, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden
Headquartered at the Columbia Marriott

NCYGS 2016 Event Flyer

2015 – Austin, TX July 9-11


Local hosts: International Junior Master Gardener Program and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Headquartered at the Radisson Austin Downtown

Keynote speakers: Lisa Whittlesey & Alexandra Evans, Whitney Cohen, Nate Erwin

NCYGS 2015 Event Program

2014 – Columbus, OH July 17-19


Local host: Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Headquartered at the Ohio Union at Ohio State University

Keynote speakers: Hope Taft, Amanda Maria Edmonds, Robin Moore

NCYGS 2014 Event Program

2013 – Denver, CO July 11-13


Denver Botanic Gardens

Keynote speakers: Louise Chawla with Brooke Gessay, Marcia Eames-Sheavly, David Sobel

NCYGS 2013 Event Program

2012 – Greater Washington, DC Area July 19-21


River Farm
Headquartered at the University of Maryland, College Park

Keynote speakers: Holly Shimizu, Mark Thorne, Kirk Brown (as John Bartram)

Presenting sponsor: The Burpee Foundation

NCYGS 2012 Event Program

2011 – East Lansing & Grand Rapids, MI July 21-23


Local hosts: 4-H Children’s Garden at Michigan State University and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Keynote speakers: John Fraser, Jane Taylor

NCYGS 2011 Event Brochure

2010 – Pasadena, CA July 22-24


“The Vitality of Gardens: Energizing the Learning Environment”

Local hosts: Descanso Gardens, Garden School Foundation, Kidspace Children’s Museum, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, University of California Common Ground Garden Program

Keynote speakers: Alice Waters, Sam Levin, Roger Swain

NCYGS 2010 Event Brochure

2009 – Cleveland, OH July 23-25


“Common Ground: Gardens for a Greener Tomorrow”

Cleveland Botanical Garden

Keynotes: Will Allen, Seedfolks (theatrical production)

NCYGS 2009 Event Brochure

2008 – Greater Philadelphia Area July 24-26


“Growing Fertile Minds and Communities”

Local hosts: Camden Children’s Garden, Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Winterthur Museum & Country Estate

Headquartered at University of Delaware’s Newark Campus

Keynote speakers: Jane Kirkland, Erica Wheeler

NCYGS 2008 Event Brochure

2007 – Chaska, MN July 19-21


“Widening the Circle”

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Keynote speakers: Eric Jolly, Sherry Norfolk, Albe Zakes

NCYGS 2007 Event Brochure

2006 – St. Louis, MO July 27-29


“Cultivating a Sense of Place: A Youth Gardening Adventure”

Missouri Botanical Garden

Keynote speakers: Richard Louv, Peter H. Raven, Caroline Lewis, panel discussion moderated by Norm Lownds

NCYGS 2006 Event Brochure

2005 – Atlanta, GA July 28-30


“Making Connections”

Local co-hosts Atlanta Botanical Garden and Wonderland Gardens, headquartered at Emory University

Keynote speakers: Sharon Lovejoy, Tim O’Keefe, Marcia Eames-Sheavly

2004 – Ithaca, NY July 29-31


“Branching Out: Beyond Formal Garden-Based Education”

Cornell University

Keynote speakers: Roger Hart, Frank S. Rossi

2003 – Alexandria, VA July 24-26

River Farm

Keynote speaker: Jane Taylor

2002 – San Francisco, CA August 1-3


“Environmental Education and Nutrition”

Holiday Inn Golden Gateway

Keynote speakers: Delaine Eastin, Michael Abelman, Mary Ann Patterson, general session panel featuring Sharon Lovejoy, Bill Andrew, Rodney K. Taylor, Joan Dye Gussow

2001 – East Lansing, MI July 12-14


“Gardening Beyond the Boundaries”

Michigan State University and The Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden

Keynote speakers: Dr. Carrie Heeter, Jane L. Taylor, Dr. Alice Whiren

2000 – Lake Buena Vista (Orlando), FL June 8-10


“Celebrating Children’s Gardens in the New Millenium: Design is Key”

Walt Disney World

Keynote speakers: Henri Landwirth, Robin Moore

1999 – Denver, CO July 22-24


“Growing Strong!”

Denver Botanic Gardens

Keynote speakers: Ed Hume, Marcia Eames-Sheavly, Dirck and Molly Brown, Norm Lownds

1998 – Arlington, VA July 30-August 1


“Growing Strong-Step Into My Garden”

DoubleTree Hotel

Keynote speakers: Felder Rushing, Jane Taylor, Robin Moore, Mary S. Rivkin, Ph.D.

1997 – Glencoe, IL July 31-August 2


“Way to Grow!”

Chicago Botanic Garden

Keynote speakers: Lee May, Michael Caduto, Nancy Jurenka

1996 – Pine Mountain, GA June 28-30


“Sowing Seeds and Growing Minds-Cultivating Education in the Garden”

Callaway Gardens

Keynote speakers: Robin Moore, Monica Buntin, Cynthia Klemmer, Jane Taylor, Anne Lusk, Lynn Cherry, Vasha Rosenbloom, Anne C. Hamilton, Juanita Barrow, general session panel featuring Mary Marcoux, Lois Peterson, Holly Shimizu

1995 – Pasadena, CA June 27-30


“Gardens for Youth: Nourishing Mind, Body, and Heart”

Pasadena Conference Center and The Arboretum of Los Angeles County

Keynote speakers: Brian Holley, Bill Lucas, Cathrine Sneed, George Ball, Jr., Jane Taylor, Gary Nabhan

1994 – Arlington, VA August 5-7


“Out of the Classroom and Into the Garden”

Doubletree Conference Center

Keynote speakers: Louise Chawla, David Kahn, Bill Lucas, Sharon Lovejoy, George C. Ball Jr., Frances R. Rosiak, Ward Cheney

Co-sponsored by the American Montessori Foundation

1993 – Chevy Chase, MD August 12-14


“Children, Plants, and Gardens: Educational Opportunities”

National 4-H Conference Center

Keynote speakers: Dr. Roger Hart, John Jeavons, Mark Francis, Dr. Mark Plotkin, Jane Taylor, Anne Lusk

Presenting sponsor: W. Atlee Burpee & Company