Early Childhood

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.

Learning with Wreaths

Like many other garden-related projects, wreaths represent a simple activity that can be modified for multiple grade levels and can be used to teach many concepts related to environmental science, math, design, and history.

Wreaths from the Fall Garden

Right Side Box: 

Wreath Tip

Grapevines are a popular wreath base. If you want to use grapevine, it’s better to cut it before the first hard frost. Soak it in water to make it more pliable. If it won’t be used right away, coil it in a round tub or laundry basket to help it keep its shape.

As autumn gives way to the holiday season, and the days grow colder and darker, we instinctively want to capture nature’s final display of color before the snow flies. Wreaths are a creative, simple, kid-friendly way to do this.

Just about any natural material can be used to make a wreath, whether as the base or as a decoration on the base. Let your imagination wander—a wreath of bark? Driftwood? Seashells? Twigs? Bits of wood? Feathers?

Matching Mentors with School Gardeners in Austin

Ann Richards School, Austin, TXThe community-based Sustainable Food Center (SFC) in Austin, Texas, among other activities, helps school kids throughout the city grow gardens – especially those in low income communities with a high incidence of diet-related diseases.

The Secret Life of Ponds

Water makes life on the planet not just livable, but possible. All organisms are utterly dependent on it for survival. Our bodies are 80 percent water. It covers three-quarters of the Earth's surface, but only 3 percent of that area is fresh water (the rest is oceanic salt water), and more than half of that is in the form of ice.

Making Pressed Flower Thank-you Cards


Thanking your garden volunteers and donors is as important as maintaining healthy garden soil because a garden can't grow without them! This lesson exercises students' skills in English, science, and art. Plus, it's an opportunity for them to grasp the importance of showing appreciation to those who contribute their time and resources to the garden.

Building a Maze


Mazes are an engaging and fun addition to any youth garden. They can be made from a wide variety of materials depending on the resources and space available. Design and installation of the maze hones math and art skills.

The Changing Garden


Students will:

  • observe the changes in the garden throughout the day and year.
  • understand and appreciate that nature is constantly changing.

Central Concepts

The garden is a dynamic environment that changes in appearance daily and seasonally.


  • drawing paper
  • an easel or clipboard
  • colored pencils

Discussion Topics

What are some of the changes that take place in our garden?

Does the garden look the same in the morning as it does in the afternoon?

Make a Garden Art Box

The garden is full of inspiration for budding artists. You can easily transform your garden into an exciting art studio by providing a few supplies and time for creativity and observation.


Students will create a supply box to use in the garden for art projects. With the cover on, the box also provides an outdoor work surface.

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