Activities To Engage Children and Teens
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
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.
A sampling of NGC's youth-directed initiatives includes:
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 Scout 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.