Past Symposia


For more than 25 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


Read a 2016 interview with AHS staff about the history and impact of the symposium over the years.

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
ommunity 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

Theme: 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