2010 Grant and Award Winner Year End Report Summary

The National Gardening Association provides material assistance to youth and community garden programs with support from our generous sponsors. To date, 9,310 grants & awards worth $3.7 million reaching an estimated 1.4 million youth in the U.S. have been distributed through our organization. In 2005 we started collecting data to track the impact of our grants programs via a year-end evaluation summary completed by grant recipients. Below are some recent testimonials and results.

Fall 2009-Spring 2010 Grant and Award Programs
AeroGrow Growing Kids Award
Hansen's Natural and Native School Garden Grant
Healthy Sprouts
Heinz Wholesome Memories Intergenerational Garden Award
Hooked on Hydroponics
Mantis Award
Midwest Adopt a School Garden Award
Syngenta IPM in School Gardens Grant
Welch’s Harvest Grant
Youth Garden Grant

Evaluation Highlights

The following data represents responses from 215 award and grant winners.

Type of organizations responding:
55% - Public school
18% - Nonprofit Agency
9.5%- Private school
8%- Other
5% - Charter School
3% - Community Garden
1.5% - Alternative School

Type of audiences participating in these programs:
78% - In-school
52% - After-school
40% - Special Needs
36% - Community gardeners
35% - Summer Program/Camp
26% - Gifted & Talented
23% - Intergenerational
18% - Youth Club
17% - Preschool/Head Start
11% - Church/Youth Group
5% - Home school

Total number of children who participated:
5,984 Age 2-5 (preschool-K)
12,653 Ages 6-8 (grades 1-3) 
10,965 Ages 9-11 (grades 4-6) 
3,848 Ages 12-13 (grades 7-8) 
3,677 Ages 14-18 (grades 9-12)

Total Students: 37,127 

Adult participation: 4,105 adults (18+) 

Average hours per week a participating child/youth was involved in gardening activities:
3 hours/week

Average duration of gardening program:
7 months/year

Program continuation:
99% of respondents plan to continue their program the next year

Type of subjects taught through gardening:
90% teach science
81% teach health and nutrition
61% teach community service
57% teach math
40% teach English
39% teach arts
34% teach intra/interpersonal relationships
33% teach cultural studies/issues
33% teach interdisciplinary
31% teach social studies
26% teach physical education
26% teach history

State and National Education Standards:
69% of respondents connected their gardening program to State and National Education Standards 

Importance of linking to these standards for respondents:
14.5% responded linking was mandatory
26% responded linking was very important
18% responded linking was important
14% responded linking was somewhat important
13% responded linking was not important
14.5% responded n/a

Approximate amount of money spent on the gardening program:
13%- spent less than $250
16% - spent $251 to $500 
20% - spent $501 to $1000 
7.5% - spent $1001 to $1500 
7% - spent $1501 to $2000 
8.5% - spent $2001 to $2500
28%- spent over $2501

Average percent of funding received per category:
% Grants – 49 %
% Donations – 17%
% School or School District Funds – average response – 8%
% Parent or Volunteer Organizations – 7%
% Other – average response - 7%
% Instructor’s pocket – average response - 7%
% Fund Raising – 5%

Approximate value of in-kind donations:
15%- value less than $250
16% - value between $251 to $500 
21% - value between $501 to $1000 
15% - value between $1001 to $1500 
8% - value between $1501 to $2000 
7% - value between $2001 to $2500
18%- value over $2501

Average percent of time spent on different instructional techniques:
30.5% Adult-led investigation/hands-on activities
25% Student-led investigation/hands-on activities
22% Collaborative project work
12% Independent Learning
10.5% Lecture

Program leaders noted participant improvements in these characteristics:
91% noticed improvements in environmental attitudes
83% noticed improvements in community spirit
83% noticed improvements in self confidence
83% noticed improvements in social skills
83% noticed improvements in leadership skills
81% noticed improvements in attitude towards school
78% noticed improvements in volunteerism
78% noticed improvements in nutritional attitudes
58% noticed improvements in motor skills
56% noticed improvements in scholastic achievement

Reported evidence documenting the effectiveness of these gardening programs:
92% received positive responses from participants
80% received positive responses from administrators
79% received positive responses from family members
75% received positive community responses
61% received donations and financial support
28% noticed decrease in disciplinary actions
27% received awards and recognition
26% collected positive survey results
20% noticed improvement in attendance rates
14% noticed improvement in test scores

Here are a few comments gathered during year-end evaluations:


From the start of the school year when the environmental team members introduced the Outdoor Classroom concept to all grade levels until these final weeks of school, the students have unanimously expressed excitement and commitment to growing this model to show what it takes to have a productive gardening center with environmental learning stations.  It has been rewarding to watch students and adults alike as they experience the "ah ha moments" when the respective areas of the Outdoor Classroom are designed.  There is more pride than could have been imagined, and all of our school families feel invested.
- June Stewart, All Saints' Academy, Florida 
Youth Garden Grant Recipient

If the enthusiasm of students is any indication of the success of a program, this one was monsterously successful! They could hardly wait each day to engage in every part of the project. Students were most excited on the day when their plant germinated and on the day when they could take their plant home. One student proundly paraded down the hall remarking that he was "...going to be a gardener when he grows up." ( I guess he missed the point I was trying to make which was that he could be a gardener NOW. I'll work more on that lesson next year.) Thank you for helping us with a project that is, we believe, so good that it is taking on a life of its own. How much better can it get!?
- Diana Eagles, Clay Springs Elementary School, Florida
Youth Garden Grant Recipient

For the first time many of these students were envied and admired by their peers.  They became more outgoing at school and some took on more leadership roles in their classrooms instead of being a trouble-maker.  Several students expressed their enjoyment; one student's grandmother said it was life-changing, and shared that her grand-daughter proclaimed it the most fun she had ever had.
- Christy Van Hoozer, Ingram Elementary School, Texas
Youth Garden Grant Recipient

This program has been amazing in the lives of the youth involved. So many are improving thier physical health as a result. Also they are building important and deep relationships with community members who are giving them the support they seldom receive at home. It has also given them the opportunity to take ownership over a blossoming program and make it thier own, meaning they bring their own personal interests to this and contribute to the group in their own individual ways.
- Paul Hudak, Terra Nova High School, Oregon
Youth Garden Grant Recipient

 The most amazing changes we have seen in the past year have been with the children taking a much deeper ownership and responsibility with the outdoor space without being asked or reminded.  The students run outside and check the plants and trees to see if they need to be watered, weeded, or if there is fruit growing.  The older students show the younger students how to harvest a tomato or fill a watering can and remind the toddlers not to step on the small, growing plants.  They view the Outdoor Classroom as a true extension of their indoor classroom and feel a personal connection to the space.  As an adult, what I have learned is how differently children interact in a space that they have helped create versus a space created for them.  This is a key difference in children becoming mere observers or genuine stewards of our shared environment.    The past two years have been a wonderful experience for the children, teachers, community volunteers, and families and we look forward to continuing to grow our outdoor space and love of nature.   
- Krissi Vandenberg, Central Montessori School, Virginia
Youth Garden Grant Recipient  

Our program has had a tremendous impact on the community.  We are the only community garden in the City of Mukilteo and the only community garden providing fresh food to the local foodbank.  We went from 500 pounds donated our first year, to a projected, and on-track goal of 2000 pounds this year.  We have also expanded our donations to Everett Women's Shelter, Everett Men's Gospel Mission and Cocoon House for troubled youth.  In addition, our beds provide food for the Northshore Christian Church Food Pantry.  This church has donated 100+ volunteers to our cause over the time of two work parties and we have conducted classes to teach them to grow food.  Our program has allowed community members, who do not have space for a garden, to lease one of the 36 beds for their personal use.  Some of these beds are scholarshipped each year for low income families.  The Mukilteo Community Garden has encouraged a greater sense of community.  Almost everything has been built through generous grants, individual monetary and equipment donations and volunteerism by the people of our community.  This garden has allowed many people to come together to support a popular cause which truly benefits the entire community.  Everyone is proud of what has been created in this garden.
- Erla Godwin, Mukilteo Community Garden, Washington
Mantis Award Recipient

This program is changing the attitudes of people who live at the low income housing complex where it is located. They are visibly happier and excited about and proud of their garden. The larger community has gotten involved on many, many levels and this garden has become a place that everyone loves to spend time in. It is now one of the most special places in town. Most people walk in for the first time and just gasp at how big and beautiful it is. Everyone calls it a "gem."
- Patty Sechi, Armstrong Court Community Organic Garden, Connecticut
Mantis Award Recipient

Our students have taken ownership in their garden and they have a real sense of pride from it. Some students who do not shine in the classroom, have found working in the garden a place where they can excel in front of their peers. The community has responded positively to the garden through supporting the veggie stand, to volunteering, to donating, to positive feedback. The garden is our outdoor classroom where students are able to learn and reinforce classroom objectives.
- Annette Caldwell, Buckfield Jr & Sr High School, Maine
Welch’s Harvest Grant Recipient

The children are very enthusiastic about coming to work in the garden.  They are knowledgeable and enjoy sharing personal experiences about gardening at home.  Students are particularly impressed when they get to eat the vegetables that they grow.  "I didn't like salad but now I do!" and "This is the best salad I ever ate!" are some comments heard during our salad parties.
- Jennifer Oesterling, Corl St. Elementary School, Pennsylvania
Welch’s Harvest Grant Recipient

One of our 7th grade math classes calculated the number of plants that needed to be started. They developed their own formula. One student reported, "This is a lot harder than what we normally do, but it is more important. I know you are really going to use these numbers." The whole class was proud that what they did mattered to the rest of the school. 
- Leah Pierce, Waconia Edible Classroom at Clearwater Middle School, Minnesota
Welch’s Harvest Grant Recipient

The students are always so excited about working in the garden. Many even chose working in the garden over playing at recess!  They are always so interested in learning how plants reproduce and grow and they are eager to help, whether it is weeding, watering or planting.  The students LOVE gardening!  Best of all they love eating their produce!
- Marie Carlson, Brownsville Road Elementary School, Tennessee
Welch’s Harvest Grant Recipient

The impact of the program on our school and on our students was fantastic. Students were excited to learn about nutrition and healthy cooking. It can be very challenging to get students interested and engaged in activities relating to health, but talking about gardening, vegetables, and cooking really grabbed their attention and kept them interested in the topics. The gardening project allowed us to discuss topics like soil composition and water quality in a "real life" way that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.
- Kristina Simmonds, Pinnacle School, Indiana
Welch’s Harvest Grant Recipient

The impact of our gardening program has been substantial. For the first time, these children are learning how to grow their own fruits and vegetables. They are learning about recycling in the garden, the value of composting and vermicomposting, and rebuilding the soil structure. Our garden is florishing without using harmful chemicals or pesticides. The students are witnessing the food web cycle, starting with good, healthy soil to healthy crops. We eat the fruits of our labor and all waste is recycled into our compost bins. Our students at Billy Mitchell are seeing first hand the collaboration between our garden plants and beneficial insects.

Along with learning gardening techniques, the students are learning to work as a team, to share responsibilities in the garden and work as a cohesive group. Our outdoor classroom is exposing our students to an environment, they might otherwise never get a chance to witness or more importantly explore in depth. Ecosystems, habitats, pest management, recycling, soil, nutrition, the seed to plate concept, natural order of plant life and the role we play on Earth all experienced in our little garden environment. I challenge any individual or group that doesn't see the tremendous value in a school garden. We are eternally grateful to organizations such as Healthy Sprouts who provide funding to help sustain these living laboratories. I look forward to the next opportunity to apply for another grant. These grants are our lifeline to sustainability.
- Kris Lauritson, Billy Mitchell Elementary, CA
Healthy Sprouts Award Recipient

We are anxious to have our first full compost to put into the ground and hopefully it will be before the first frost.  The kids are always asking if certain items can be composted and thrilled to find out that different things can go back into the ground.  They love walking through our garden and sniffing the cinnamon and lemon basil plants.  They love the feel of the lamb's ear and the colors of the ziinias.  One child said that he wished he had a garden like this--when I told him he did, that this is his garden, his eyes lit up! 
- Barbara FitzPatrick, Saint Helena School, Pennsylvania
Mantis ASG Award Recipient

The addition of our school garden has had a very positive impact on our physical school grounds, sense of community, and the students' sense of environmental responsibility.  The garden has become an outdoor classroom, as well as an area used, enjoyed, and cared for by the community.  Students have learned a great deal about gardening itself, environmental stewardship, composting, and community service. 
- Melissa Schneiderhan, CLK Elementary School, Michigan
Midwest School Garden Grant Recipient


These grants are awarded based on merit. Winners were chosen through evaluation of written applications; winning applicants indicated well-planned, comprehensive, community-supported, and sustainable youth garden programs. Because the pool of applicants and types of programs vary each year, the statistics noted here are dynamic.

For more data and comments, please see:

2009 Evaluation Summary
2008 Evaluation Summary
2007 Evaluation Summary
2006 Evaluation Summary
2005 Evaluation Summary

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