Youth Projects & Contests



All Youth Contest entries are first submitted to the Connecticut Youth Chair, who chooses the winners and forwards them to the  National contest.  The State-level submission deadlines for each year’s contests are usually in early January.  See Guidelines below for instructions. Contact Kandra Houston, Youth Awards Chair, for details at All Youth Award applications now require Release for Publication and Website.

Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Youth Poster Contest

This year’s contest is dedicated to Smokey Bear’s 80th birthday!  Children from first through fifth grade are invited to participate in this poster contest featuring Smokey Bear!  Through original drawings, students have the opportunity to show their understanding of wildfire prevention and basic environmental conservation principles.  The Grand Prize National Poster Winner receives a trip for four to Washington, DC.  This contest has been offered by NGC and the United States Forest Service for over 50 years.  Club entries must be sent to the FGCCT Youth Chairman by the deadline found HERE.

Smokey Bear says: “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires!”





Youth Sculpture Contest

The Youth Sculpture Contest encourages students to keep our planet green and to get involved with saving the environment. Students in grades 4 through 8 are eligible to create a sculpture of recyclable, reused, and reduced materials.  Club entries must be sent to FGCCT Youth Chairman by the deadline found HERE.


Poetry Contest
2023-2024 Theme:  “I Spy With My Little Eye, Something Green Outside – Celebrating Our Green World” 

The National Garden Club’s Poetry Contest is open to students in Kindergarten through ninth grade in Special Education, English as a Second Language and General Education. This competition enables youth to embrace their creativity through the art of writing. Club entries must be sent to FGCCT Youth Chairman by the deadline found HERE.  All of the winning entries will be compiled into a booklet, which will be made available to the winners.


High School Distinguished Service Project Award

From funding the construction of a beautiful children’s garden to forming programs to battle invasive plants, National Garden Clubs is full of leaders with a desire to improve our world. To acknowledge those who strive to achieve our mission and share our vision for a more beautiful tomorrow, NGC has established awards to recognize the contribution of those who have put forth endless effort to educate youth on the importance of gardening and horticulture, those who tirelessly work to grow club memberships, those who passionately strive to help their community locally and globally and many more.



Teaming with Scouts, NGC has adopted a Scout Wildflower Patch to educate children not only about wildflowers, but also native plants. Local garden clubs can work with Scout Troops through hands-on experiences. Troops may sow native plants and/or wildflowers either indoors or outdoors in their own yards or community gardens. The individual garden club may create their own wildflower patch design with the Troop or use Florida’s Wildflower Patch (available FREE to troops that do not wish to invest in their own patches).


Youth programs are designed to:

  • Encourage environmental responsibility
  • Educate our next generation of gardeners, wildlife habitat advocates, beekeepers
  • Promote exploration and enjoyment of our surrounding landscape

We encourage you, through your garden clubs, to sponsor youth groups of ages 3 through teen years. Through the positive experiences provided, garden clubs can 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”!

NGC’s Environmental Concerns and Conservation Committee invites you to become an Ecology Warrior as you investigate and study the contents of its Ecology Warriors Workbook. During 2022 we encourage clubs with youth programs to review one natural resource in each issue of the workbook and suggest project ideas to teach children about each natural resource. We hope that your club with take advantage of this information for your youth programs.  Nesting Ball Project

Garden Clubs members may establish projects or encourage NGC Youth Contest entries without having an officially sponsored Youth Group.  Involve your local Scout group or other community youth group or your children’s school class and have some fun sharing your gardening knowledge.  Consider approaching these or other organizations, such as community libraries, to ask if there are any garden or nature projects that could use garden club help.  For more ideas about Youth Gardening Projects from National Garden Clubs, click here.

National Garden Clubs has announced a new grant opportunity up to $200 for clubs working with youth to plant pollinator gardens. See the application below