Engaging Youth During Remote Learning: Master Gardener Volunteers In Action

— Written By and last updated by girl holding seedling

Remote learning during the pandemic denied children the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers typically offer in partnership with local schools. In response, Master Gardener℠ volunteers assembled home garden kits, filmed educational videos, and collaborated in new, socially distant ways to provide these enriching activities.

Here are just a few examples of Extension Master Gardener volunteers in action engaging youth during remote learning across North Carolina: 

Growing Pizza

Working with 4-H and other Extension partners, Master Gardener℠ volunteers in Davidson County helped transform the traditional ‘Ag By the Slice’ fifth-grade field trip into a virtual experience. By creating a video that illustrates how pizza ingredients are grown, the program reached more students than in a typical year.

Bucket Gardens

In cooperation with Mission Hospital McDowell, Master Gardener℠ volunteers in McDowell County helped distribute over 200 bucket garden kits to students in low-income households. The kits included instructions written by a volunteer for growing a garden in a 5-gallon bucket and provided students with a hands-on activity that encouraged them to eat more fresh vegetables.

School Garden Not Forgotten 

While schools were closed, Master Gardener℠ volunteers in Orange County cared for the gardens at Estes Hills Elementary School and donated the produce to TABLE, a non-profit organization that provides hunger relief and nutrition education services to children in Orange County.

Extension Master Gardener program annual report cover

Additional stories of Master Gardener volunteers in action are featured in the NC State Extension Master Gardener℠ program 2020 annual report


The Extension Master Gardener program operates in 84 of N.C. Cooperative Extension’s 101 local centers. Master Gardener volunteers support the mission of N.C. Cooperative Extension by connecting people to horticulture through science-based education and outreach. 

Learn about becoming a Master Gardener volunteer or connect with volunteers in your community by contacting your local N.C. Cooperative Extension center.

Support the work of Master Gardener volunteers across North Carolina by making a tax-deductible donation to the North Carolina Extension Master Gardener endowment