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American Horticultural Society’s 2011 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium | Arts & Culture

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American Horticultural Society’s 2011 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium
American Horticultural Society’s 2011 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium

News Release:

Alexandria, VA (May 31, 2011) Not only is there an art and a science to gardening, there’s an art and a science to making the plant world come alive for kids. For those wishing to hone their skills in this arena, don’t miss the American Horticultural Society’s 19th annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium from July 21 to 23 in East Lansing and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Featuring a broad array of workshops, tours, and presentations, the event is designed for teachers, designers, parents—anyone who works with kids in the garden.

This year’s host gardens are the embodiment of the Symposium’s theme, “Digging into the Art and Science of Gardening.” On the art side, there is the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, where horticulture is as much of an art form as the impressive sculpture collection situated throughout its 132-acre grounds. As for science, the innovative 4-H Children’s Garden at Michigan State University in East Lansing has just about turned teaching its young visitors about the wonders of plants and gardens into a science.

In addition to behind-the-scenes tours and in-depth explorations of the host gardens, the Symposium will feature two inspirational keynote speakers. John Fraser, director of the Institute for Learning Innovation, will give the opening address about the infinite value of outdoor learning. Jane Taylor, founding curator of the Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden, will give the closing remarks. Taylor has been a fixture of the Symposium since its early days, helping educators find creative ways to substantiate her conviction that “everything can be taught in a garden.”

The Symposium also offers more than 50 lectures and workshops to choose from, on a wide range of topics including grant writing, biodynamic composting, and designing children’s gardens. “From these educational sessions to the tour locations, we offer something for everyone,” says Stephanie Jutila, AHS director of member services and outreach.

Space is limited so early registration is recommended. Visit www.ahs.org/ncygs or call (703) 768-5700 ext. 132 for more information.

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The American Horticultural Society (AHS), founded in 1922, is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens. The mission of the AHS is to open the eyes of all Americans to the vital connection between people and plants, to inspire all Americans to become responsible caretakers of the Earth, to celebrate America’s diversity through the art and science of horticulture; and to lead this effort by sharing the Society’s unique national resources with all Americans.

Dedicated in 1993, the Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden was the first interactive outdoor garden for children at a public garden in the United States, which now attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually. Since its opening, the garden has received numerous awards for its design, educational programming, and web presence. It has served as a model for the design of many other children’s gardens across North America and was one of the first children’s gardens to directly incorporate learning objectives into the design: teaching children about the importance of plants, encouraging curiosity and wonder, and providing an enriching aesthetic experience.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, serving more than a half-million visitors annually. The 132-acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Rodin, Oldenburg, Moore, Bourgeois and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Chadwick. For more information visit MeijerGardens.org.