Growing Young Gardeners

— Written By

Extension Master Gardener℠ Volunteers in Buncombe County Show Us How

EMG volunteer teaching kids about plants.

With fun activities, Extension Master Gardener volunteers connected kids with nature.

Hands-on gardening experiences in childhood can cultivate a life-long appreciation for nature. Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteers in Buncombe County provided this opportunity for local youth last summer during a day camp focused on the basics and benefits of gardening. In collaboration with the Asheville Parks and Recreation Department, EMG volunteers planned and led hands-on activities that illustrated the importance of soil, insects, pollinators, birds, worms, flowers, fruits and vegetables. The camp was offered to children between the ages of 8 – 12, provided the EMG Youth Committee with the perfect opportunity to put its mission of growing young gardeners into action.

Campers mix up peanut butter for pinecone wildlife feeders.

Extension Master Gardener volunteers in Buncombe County led hands-on activities during day camp.

EMG volunteers were involved in all aspects of the planning and implementation of the gardening lessons. Months before summer, EMG volunteers brainstormed ideas for activities and assigned a theme for each day. They met with the director of the facility in which the camp would take place to go over logistics, determine supplies needed and demonstrate the activities to ensure they were age-appropriate. After recruiting EMG volunteers to help, it was go-time!

kids at tables labeling compost bins

Campers learned about composting with worms.

Each day, the group met for an introduction to that day’s theme and then students were divided into smaller groups to rotate through activity stations. Students’ favorite activities were making worm bins, painting birdhouses, insect hunting, pressing flowers, and making bird feeders. Students were particularly excited to bring home literature and activities to share with their families. EMG volunteers had as much fun as the kids!  

Kids seated outside in front of thank you banner.

Campers gathered on the last day to thank the Extension Master Gardener volunteers.

To recognize this important outreach work, the Extension Master Gardener program in Buncombe County received NC State Extension’s 2019 Search for Excellence Award. This award recognizes outstanding Extension Master Gardener volunteer-led educational, group projects that result in significant learning. Banner - Search for Excellence

Congratulations to Extension Master Gardener project volunteers Carol Brown, Suzanne Wodek, Nancy Good, Shirley Phillips, Jill Prior, Nina Fox-Holladay, Kay Green, Judy Hamrick, Mollie Milner, Mary Ann Snedeker, Anne Stafford, and Susan Spencer.

To learn more about the Extension Master Gardener program in Buncombe County, contact, Alison Arnold, N.C. Cooperative Extension Horticulture agent,  828-255-5522.

ABOUT the North Carolina Extension Master Gardener Program

Master Gardener volunteers support the NC State Extension mission by educating residents about safe, effective and sustainable gardening practices that grow healthy people, gardens, landscapes, and communities. Their vision is a healthier world through environmental stewardship.

To learn more about the NC State Extension Master Gardener program in your community, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension Center.