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Nature's Fun I Swear: Engaging High School Students in Outdoor Education

Public gardens across the United States and Canada are exposing young adults to the outdoors through interesting and innovative programs. From daily hands-on field trips to youth movements to partnerships with schools, students are developing a better understanding of their environment and a greater appreciation of how they can impact their natural surroundings. Through innovative student programming gardens can support a love of nature and inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.

#Future Green Collar: Engaging Young People with Careers in Horticulture

How can public gardens reach out to young people and engage them with careers that include horticulture and plant science, to ensure the future of their workforce and skills succession? How can this work be transferred into activity with the partners—specifically public gardens? This session will explore examples from Seed Your Future, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Trees Atlanta, Morton Arboretum, Longwood Gardens, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and New Orleans Botanical Garden to discuss how gardens can begin to weave career exploration into its programming. 

Breakthrough Design Initiatives for Your Public Garden

Award-winning landscape designer, author, and thought leader Julie Moir Messervy shares her design studio’s visioning process that allows stakeholders to collaborate in creating special gardens of beauty and meaning for their public gardens. With an understanding of the creative thinking that produces an innovative landscape, you and your staff can create breakthrough design initiatives that delight visitors and draw fundraising and publicity opportunities.


J. Messervy, J. Bryan, Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio (JMMDS), Saxton River, Vermont

Engaging Diverse Audiences in Conservation and Research through Citizen Science

Citizen science offers the opportunity to actively involve a variety of audiences both on site and in communities with our collections, our research, and our conservation activities, increasing scientific and environmental literacy as well as awareness of our work. This session will outline the key components of a successful citizen science project: program, purpose, partnerships, participants, and product (outputs).

Adopting a 'More than Less Bad' Paradigm at South Coast Botanical Garden

Located on a former landfill, South Coast Botanic Garden employed a regenerative and systematic paradigm and approach for the design of the Creek Garden and Lake in order to holistically manage large amounts of off-site stormwater, conserve water through rainwater harvesting, restore habitat, and create a fantastic place while showcasing these values through garden design and education.

Celebrating Water: How Three Gardens Tell Their Story of Water Conservation Through the Lens of Place

Water is a precious resource, and water scarcity issues are closely interrelated with climate change worldwide. While each of our gardens have different regional challenges when it comes to water collection, conservation, and reuse; public gardens are uniquely positioned to celebrate water and educate visitors about the importance of water conservation. Three gardens from very different climates have integrated the celebration of water into their gardens in very different ways.


Empathy in Action: Using Design Thinking Tools to Understand Our Audiences

Design thinking is a useful framework for working through any number of challenges public gardens face. Design thinking is a dynamic process that goes through four basic steps and provides us with techniques like developing personas, creating experience maps, and evaluating user experience to help us more deeply understand our audience.

A Natural Connection: Green Spaces, Migratory Birds, and our Latinx Community

How do you invite Latinx visitors to your programs? Do these Spanish-speaking community members feel welcome in your space? We explore community partnerships and recommended approaches to maximize success. Speakers will share successes and challenges of outreach methods, regular programming, and annual events designed for Latinx visitors, including the community events of Pájaros Sin Fronteras and Bird Ambassadors. Participants will leave with key tools and ideas to enhance program design, outreach, and partnerships.

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Public Garden Partnerships

Want to know more about how your garden can get...A standard of excellence in plant collections management that leverages the best of federal and garden relationships? The direct collection and distribution of plants for research, conservation, and collections stewardship? The education of not only public garden professionals, but children and entire communities on high-consequence plant pests and pathogens? Subsidized scouting and monitoring of collections? Raising awareness about and conserving crop wild relatives? These program initiatives are firmly rooted with our partnerships.

Interpretation 101: Training Techniques for Engaging Garden Interpreters

We share our mission to our guests through exhibits, discovery carts, tours, and programs. Both staff and volunteers interpret our mission to guests through these methods. Discover how interpretive tools and methods are used to convey the chosen message and inspire action. Learn how various gardens combine content with interpretive techniques to train volunteers to serve as teachers, docents, and guides. Hear from gardens that use the formal Certified Interpretive Guide training from the National Association of Interpretation and others that create their own training curriculum. 


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