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Youth Gardening and the
Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut

Youth Chair
Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut

Dottie Fox
99 Cole Lane, Kensington 06037
203-592-9980 email:

Youth gardeners are eligible for numerous contests, including

National Garden Club High School Essay Contest

Youth Sculpture Contest

Native Plant Patch for Girl Scouts

Woodsy Owl/Smokey Bear Contest

Download the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.
Annual Report Form for Youth Garden Clubs here.


2017 Woodsy Owl Poster Contest Ceremony

Every year, elementary school students get the chance to participate in a nationally sponsored event by the National Garden Clubs, Inc. entitled Woodsy Owl and Smokey Bear Poster Contest. This is a major undertaking to encourage students to become more aware of environmental and conservation issues by preventing forest fires and by promoting recycling, reducing waste, re-using products and by composting.
Sponsored by The Wallingford Garden Club and the Cheshire Garden Club, an award ceremony was held on Sunday, April 23, 2017, at the Wallingford Public Library to recognize the first place winners in Connecticut. Students were accompanied by their parents, their siblings and many of them by their grandparents.
Newly installed Federation President Inge Venus presented each of the four Connecticut students with a framed first place certificate as well as one of the following books: “The Frightened Frog”; “Kids Guide to Exploring Nature”; and “Fun With Nature”.
Linda Miller, Youth Committee Chair of The Wallingford Garden Club and organizer of the event, presented each student with a Certificate of Participation from the New England Region of Garden Clubs, Inc.
Following the award presentation, family members joined the students and presenters Inge Venus and Linda Miller for a group picture.

At the Reception, sparkling apple-cider specially prepared by Linda Miller was served with an assortment of flutes and cookies prepared by the committee. Everybody was then asked to raise their glasses to toast our Connecticut winners:
First grader Leah Mosher from Wallingford’s Stevens Elementary School; second grader Emily Junaedi from Cheshire’s Doolittle Elementary School; third grader Isabella Galushko from Wallingford’s Pond Hill Elementary School; and fourth grader Katherine Lombardo from Wallingford’s Parker Farms Elementary School.

Photography by Natalie Scott


From the Trumbull Times: Students Learn What They Can Do To Help The Frog
by Julie Miller

Pictured are students from Jane Ryan School: Dean Chamberlin, Evelyn Montagnino a member of the Long Hill Garden Club who taught some of the lessons, Nahir Ali-Chicaiza and Elliana Pappa.

The third grade students in some of the elementary schools in Trumbull were taught a lesson about the possible plight of frogs which may become part of the endangered species list. Studying ecosystems and the food chain of animals is part of the science curriculum.

The lessons were centered around a book called, The Frightened Frog, an Environmental Tale, written by Brenda Moore and Jean Ohlmann who are members of the National Garden Clubs, Inc.

The book discusses why frogs are important, how they have come to the point of becoming endangered, and what we can do to help prevent this from happening.  As part of their lesson, the children made posters to show what we can do to help our friend the frog.

Each elementary school media center will receive a copy of this book from the Long Hill Garden Club to add to its collection.


Cheshire Garden Club Helps Dodd Middle School Get in the Spirit of the Season

Members of the Dodd Middle School’s garden club in Cheshire under the direction
of Cheshire Garden Club Youth Coordinator Inge Venus and Science Teacher Clare
Gonzalez brought in cornstalks, mums, pumpkins and gourds and put together this
attractive autumnal display in front of the school’s entrance – much to the delight
and kudos of teachers and staff.


Cheshire Garden Club and Dodd Middle School Students
Share the Youth Award of Excellence

Students of the Dodd Middle School Garden Club in Cheshire celebrated their accomplishments with
a year-end Social by holding up posters prepared by Cheshire Garden Club Youth Coordinator Inge Venus
(second from right) of the nine gardening workshops they participated in during the 2013-2014 school year.
Together with their Science Teacher Mrs. Clare Gonzalez (at center) and Ms. Venus, they planted and tended
the Butterfly and Herb garden in the Courtyard of the school, as well as the three island gardens
in the front on Park Place. In addition, they pruned, weeded, deep-spaded and mulched the garden
along the red brick wall created a couple of years ago by the PTA.

Eighth grader Kaylie Behuniak is holding up the silver Youth Award of Excellence tray that the Cheshire
Garden Club received from The Federation for their continued youth project activities with the students
at Dodd Middle School.
Photo by Clare Farley.


Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest Winner

Sponsored by the Wallingford Garden Club, five-year old Paige Twohill entered the National Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl
Poster Contest and won a $25.00 check from the New England Region for her “Lend a Hand, Care for the Land” poster.
FGCCT President Jacqueline Connell is shown presenting the certificate to Paige, with her family joining the award ceremony.
Photo by Ellie Tessmer.


Poetry Reception for 2013 Contest Entrants

Colchester students in attendance at the Poets Reception hosted by the Colchester Garden Club who participated in the National Garden Clubs 2013 Youth Poetry Contest, “ Preserving and Conserving Natural Resources.” From left to right:
Emily Sala, Talia Felker, Antonia Jascowski, Noel Gagne Lemay, Shane Gagne Lemay, Annie Hageman, and Cassandra Bernier with their reusable bags generously donated by Whole Foods Market of Glastonbury. 

April is National Poetry Month and the Colchester Garden Club held a reception to celebrate the local entrants of the 2013 National Garden Clubs Youth Poetry Contest.  Twelve students representing the Colchester school system and home schooling participated. 

Each year the National Garden Clubs, Inc., selects a theme to encourage youth to think about and express their thoughts on a particular important issue facing our community, nation and world. The 2013 theme was Preserving and Conserving Natural Resources.  Jacqueline Connell, President of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, representing over 100 state garden clubs with over 7,000 members, attended the event on April 5, 2014, congratulating the student poets on their creative efforts.  She acknowledged all of the entrants with a special Certificate. 

Winners at the state level included Noel Gagne Lemay (2nd place), Shane Gagne Lemay (first place), Annie Hageman (first place), Cassandra Bernier (first place) and Antonia Jascowski (first place).  The first place winners also won at the New England Regional including all six states, and their poems have been forwarded for judging at the national level by the National Garden Clubs, Inc.  The Colchester Garden Club presented to each of the student poets a large colorful recyclable shopping bag generously donated by Whole Foods Markets in Glastonbury to reinforce the importance of reducing the use of plastic and paper bags by using reusable bags.

The Colchester Garden Club has recently announced the start of the 2014 National Garden Clubs, Inc., Youth Poetry Contest with the theme of "Good Stewards of Our Earth."  Contest details may be picked up at the Cragin Memorial Library Children’s Department or by emailing

Katherine Kosiba
President, Colchester Garden Club


Colchester Garden Club Recognizes Young Poets

Young poets recently received recognition from the Colchester Garden Club (CGC) for their participation in the National Garden Clubs Inc. 2012 Poetry Contest, “Protecting Our Aquatic Friends." At the CGC reception held at Cohen Woodlands, the children read their poems, received Certificates of Appreciation from The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, inc., and were given reusable beverage bottles from the Colchester Garden Club. Posing with Barbara Gilbert, Director of Curriculum-Colchester Schools, Avis Hull, CGC member and their families, the young poets holding certificates are (left to right) Avery, Alicia Rose, Joselyn, Noel, and Shane. Additional young poets unable to attend included: Evelena and Jennifer.

Photo by Katherine Kosiba
President, Colchester Garden Club

Garden Club Collaborates with Scouts in Colchester


On Sunday, November 3, 2013, four girls of Daisy troop 63048 worked with me and two of their leaders to plant crocus and scented daffodil bulbs on the north and northwest side of the Cragin Memorial Library. The cost of the bulbs was funded from the gift donation by Colchester residents, Tim and Leslie Curtis.

Here is what was planted:Crocus 'Majestic Lavender Mix', Chrysanthus 'Cream Beauty', and Narcissus 'Fragrant Breeze'.

The girls raked back the mulch followed by the adults digging narrow trenches for the small crocus bulbs and round holes for groupings of daffodils.

The first grade Daisies each held a bulb to look at it closely, then learned about the bulbs - which side sprouted the stem, leaves and flower and which side pushed out the roots to help it grow and thrive, and how to plant the bulbs properly..

The youngsters put the bulbs in the ground, covered up the bulbs with soil, then raked back the mulch. The sidewalk was swept. The girls assisted with clean up by carrying the tools and supplies to the respective automobiles. There was one final photo with the group of very happy Daisies completing this project so well!

I am pleased to say that by partnering with the Colchester Garden Club for this community service project it was the final step needed for these young girls to earn a badge through their troop. We thank them for their enthusiasm and good works.

Now we are all looking forward to Spring with this new burst of color in these areas where earlier our club planted heuchera, liatrope, a shrub - Andromeda ‘Valley Valentine’ and small Black Eyed Susans for late spring/summer blooms.

Happy Autumn,

Katherine M. Kosiba
President, Colchester Garden Club

The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc., through National Garden Clubs, promotes opportunities for youth involvement. We have youth garden clubs,  sponsored and mentored by adult clubs in their area. Click here for great ideas for youth activities groups. We sponsor poster contests, speech and essay contests, and poetry contests. Information and contest forms are provided in the Education section of the National Garden Clubs website.


A World of Discovery!

Celebrating Earth Day at Tisko Elementary School in Branford

Gardening opens an amazing world of discovery for children. It is a world where they can explore, enjoy and learn about the wonders nature has to offer. Through gardening activities, they will witness first hand how plants, animals, insects and humans interact with each other.

We encourage you, through your garden clubs, to sponsor youth groups for ages 3 through teen years. Through the positive experiences provided, garden clubs will instill children with pleasure, curiosity and respect for the natural world around them. Gardening activities will build self-confidence and a greater appreciation of our environment.

Let's share our knowledge, creativity and enthusiasm as we ignite that spark of interest and love of gardening in children. For what child can ever resist the sheer fun of "digging in the dirt"

Planting Day for the Girl Scouts

Peppers, tomatoes, onions and marigolds (to help keep the bugs away) raised from seeds started by the girls back in March were planted in the Heirloom Vegetable Garden at the Stanton House Museum in Clinton.

Arbor Garden Club members helped!


Children's Gardens In and Around New England

Washington, DC:



  • Fields Pond Nature Center, Holden ME


  • Peabody Institute, Danvers MA
  • Garden activities at East Taunton Elementary School's garden by "The Kids In the Garden," East Taunton, MA
  • The Coodnow Library, Sudbury MA
  • Somerset Historical Society's Children's Garden, Somerset MA

New Hampshire:

  • Robert Frost Homestead Children's Garden, Derry NH

New Jersey:


  • Daniel Boone Homestead Children's Garden, Birdsboro PA
  • Claysburg-Kimmel Elementary School Butterfly Garden, Claysburg PA
  • Butterfly Garden at Wharton Elementary School, Farmington PA
  • Anson B. Nixon Park, Butterfly Garden, Kennett Square PA
  • Eye of the Eagle Sensory Trail, Leesburg PA
  • Strodes Middle School, McVeytown PA
  • Newlonsburg Garden Children's Garden, Murrysville PA
  • Phipps Conservatory Discovery Garden, Pittsburg PA
  • Berk's County Parks, Nature Trail, Wyomissing PA


  • Grandma and Grandpa's Garden, Vermont Community Botanical Garden, Rutland VT


Copyright © The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut, Inc.
Last updated
May 9, 2017