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Youth Programs

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Activities To Engage Children and Teens

A group of school children lined up on a bridge looking at fish in a pond.Appreciation for our natural world, its beauty and our environmental responsibilities grows from engagement, enjoyment and exploration at an early age.

To educate our youth, and to nurture a sense of world stewardship in the next generation of gardeners, National Garden Clubs has developed numerous projects directed at children and teenagers.

Community participation in youth programs is sponsored by local, state, and regional garden clubs, as well as international affiliates.

NGC's youth outreach includes a wide range of activities, scholarships and contests designed to promote horticulture and a love of gardening, conservation, sustainability and environmental stewardship. Several of these popular national programs include partnerships with such organizations as the U.S. Forest Service and the Girl Scouts.

NGC's Youth-Directed Initiatives Include:

  • Youth Gardening

    NGC encourages its clubs to provide educational opportunities for youth at the pre-school, elementary, middle and high school level. The scope of programs by clubs includes Youth Garden Clubs, after-school enrichment programs, school classrooms presentation, nursery school programs, and collaborations with youth organizations such as Scouts, 4-H etc.

  • School Garden Projects

    Garden clubs across the U.S. assist local schools in establishing gardens to educate children about nature, horticulture and the environment, and to nurture an appreciation for plants and gardening. These gardens become outdoor classrooms that assist teachers in reinforcing principles of math, science and nutrition. Among key school initiatives is the Pollinators Live program, which uses classrooms as laboratories. The focus of Pollinators Live is to directly engage students and teachers in creating diverse school gardens that incorporate native plants to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other native pollinators.

  • Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl Poster Contests

    Children across the nation participate in these popular annual conservation-related projects, which are sponsored in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. College Scholarships. This initiative offers financial aid to students majoring in fields of study related to horticulture and the environment. NGC awards more than 30 scholarships annually.

  • Girl Scouts Badge

    Another outstanding NGC project is the cooperative effort with scouting organizations to promote the use of native plants while teaching gardening basics. To earn a National Garden Clubs Girl Scout Native Plants Badge, scouts study native plants in their home areas and establish beauty spots in their communities.

  • Poetry and Essay Contests

    These annual competitions provide a way for students to express their love of nature and concern for their environment through prose. Teachers can utilize this contest to reinforce creative writing skills. Each year, a $1,000 NGC Scholarship is awarded to the national winner of the High School Essay Contest.

  • Youth Sculpture Contest

    In this competition, students can showcase their artistry and creativity to show their environmental awareness by forming a sculpture using recyclable materials.

  • High School Distinguished Service Project Award

    Annual awards of $100 for first place and $50 for second place are awarded to high school students for outstanding civic projects in such areas as the environment, conservation, landscape, horticulture, recycling or garden therapy.