Youth Projects & Contests

Youth Projects

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”!

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

Youth Contests


All Youth Contest entries are first submitted to the Connecticut Youth Chair who will choose winners to be forwarded on as potential National winners. Deadlines for submission to FGCCT Youth Chair for the each year’s contests are usually by the end of December. Contact Dottie Fox, FGCCT Youth Chair, for details at

Students in first through fifth grades may enter the Smokey Bear/ Woodsy Owl Poster Contest. Through original drawings, students have the opportunity to show their basic understanding of fire prevention and conservation. 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.  Smokey Bear has been dealing with fire prevention since 1944 because 99% of all wildfires are caused by human carelessness.  Woodsy Owl has promoted environmental conservation through the 4 R’s- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (Compost) since 1971. Click Here to see 2019 Winners

Click here for: TIPS for MAKING POSTERS  and HOW to SUBMIT a POSTER.

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.  Click to learn more.

NGC’s Poetry Contest is open to students in Kindergarten through ninth grade. This competition enables youth to embrace their creativity through the art of writing. All of the winning entries will be compiled into a booklet, which will be made available to the winners. Learn more here.

High School Students may enter the Essay Contest. For 2019-2020 the subject is “Challenges in Preserving our Natural Habitats.  The 2020-2021 subject is “Adapting our Actions to Protect our Natural Habitats.”  Length of the essay is 600-700 words. National winner receives a $1,000 scholarship.For details and rules click here.

The High School Distinguished Service Project Award for a high school student in grades 9-12 is for an outstanding civic project making a significant improvement for public benefit, e.g. environment, conservation, landscape, horticulture, recycling, horticulture therapy, etc. A single member club, group of member clubs, districts or a state garden club must sponsor the contest. $100 will be awarded to the first place winner and $50 to the second place winner.  Click to learn more.