Youth Garden
Resource and Education


Youth Garden Resource and Education (YGRE) acts as a resource for schools and youth groups. It is designed to reach school-aged children and their educators to teach the fun of the science of gardening.

Past projects include:

  • Guidance in planning an ambitious school learning garden

  • Hands-on classroom lessons

  • Fun crafts and activities

  • On-the-road enrichment talks on seeds, soils, rocks, and community gardens

  • An inter-generational gardening activities presentation

If you have further questions, call Kenzie Johnston at the Extension office at 740-833-2030 or email

Getting Started with School Gardens

Greenhouse Manual: An Introductory Guide for Educators (PDF)
"The manual clearly and concisely lays out a basic understanding of greenhouses, how to integrate them into lessons, and how to effectively use greenhouses in classroom curricula and out-of-school activities." From the United States Botanic Garden, the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and City Blossoms.

Shale Meadows Elementary School
Milkweed Milk Jugs and Monarchs
Karen Rissmeyer, Cynthia Buettner, Stephany Merick
January 5, 2022

Karen Rissmeyer (Master Gardener class of 2021!) has initiated an exciting learning project at Shale Meadows Elementary School. Karen, a newly retired educator from Olentangy Local School District, reached out to principal Greta Gnagy and teacher Mandy Robek of the Shale Meadow Monarchs to offer Master Gardener help to create a Monarch school garden and to teach students about the life cycle and food source for the Monarch butterfly.

After two years of schools restricting outside access to their students for health concerns, Master Gardeners were finally invited back into the classroom to share the science and fun of gardening – woohoo!

On Wednesday, January 5, three intrepid Master Gardeners (Karen and MG intern helpers Cynthia Buettner and Stephany Merick) arrived at Shale Meadows Elementary school armed with milk jugs, milkweed seed, a handy dandy drill, duct tape and soil. Their mission – to educate five third grade classes about monarchs, their migration, their host plant, and why creating a monarch waystation is helpful to the continuation of the species. Karen led a discussion that taught the students about monarchs and also about milkweed, winter seed sowing, and reviewing the water cycle. As a retired teacher, Karen was more than ready to jump into leading the students in a game, simulation, and discussion that led up to the winter seed sowing activity.

Students drilled milk jugs, filled them with potting soil and wet the soil. Fluffy milkweed seeds were scattered in the soil (and possibly elsewhere) and gently misted. Do-it-all duct tape sealed the cut edges of the jugs and they were ready to be put outside to stratify in the cold. The student “Milkweed Crew” will watch over the jugs when they're out on the playground over the winter. Karen taught the “Crew” what to watch for (moisture –too much, too little) and what to do to make their little seedlings healthy and happy.

Thank you to Greta Gnagy and Mandy Robek for giving us such delightful mini gardeners and for allowing us to share the wonder of Monarchs with your third graders.

And thank you to our creative and energetic intern MGs Karen Rissmeyer, Cynthia Buettner and Stephany Merick who are bringing the science of gardening back to our schools!

-Gayle O’Sullivan

Conger Elementary News
May 3, 2021

Seeds are beginning to sprout, along with the curiosity of Linda’s cadre of second grade gardeners at Conger Elementary.  The garden planters are incubating the mini gardeners’ eclectic personal choices of wildflowers, dill, Johnny jump up, bee balm, milkweed, lavender, mint, thyme, lemon balm, oregano, blanket flower, butterfly weed, and a grass that is “a funny shape”.

The kiddos are doing a great job of checking on the seeds, pulling weeds (for the most part) and making certain their boxes are watered. To see all the buddies out there at recess inspecting their seedlings and smelling the herbs is priceless. One little boy loves to pick the dandelions and asked Linda if that was ok since they were not in the pots. Carefully picking a small bouquet of yellow sunshine, he handed them to Linda and said that they were for her for helping them plant the garden. And this is why we bring the magic of gardening to children!

Linda also brought gardening science inside the classroom through fun activities linked to the importance of birds and insects in pollination.  Using wild bird seed and peanut butter or lard, the kiddos made pine cone bird feeders that they could hang up at home. Why we all need “good bugs” in our gardens was Linda’s next lesson and our mini-gardeners then constructed cozy bug houses from twigs, grass and leaves scavenged from the playground, hopefully attracting those beneficial insects.

Thank you again to Linda Harrison for loving, caring and sharing nature’s beauty with her little buddies.

Gardening with Kids

Ideas for gardening with kids...two ideas per page:

Children's Literature

"Project Green Teacher is a page for Ohio teachers and others engaged in educational gardening to talk about school gardening ideas, challenges, successes, the Columbus, Ohio area and beyond. Project Green Teacher is an educational program developed by OSU Extension personnel in Franklin County, Ohio, to train teachers to be school garden resource experts in their districts in tandem with members of the Central Ohio School Garden Advisory Committee."

"Plant-based learning educators and community experts networking to support and sustain school-garden programs in Central Ohio. Members include individual teachers, curriculum specialists, and organizations that provide educators with garden-based learning resources. Teacher members are from the following school districts: Columbus City, Olentangy Local, Reynoldsburg, Granville, Grandview, Columbus School for Girls, Dublin, and The Columbus Jewish Day School. Educators from OSU Extension Service, Franklin Park Conservatory, Franklin Soil and Water Conservation, Columbus Public Health, and OSU Ohio Farm-to-School."

The JMG program is an innovative 4-H youth gardening project developed by the Texas A&M University. Level 1 is designed for children in grades 3-5. It is modeled after the highly successful Master Gardener program and offers horticultural and environmental science education, and leadership and life skills development through fun and creative activities.


  • Creative Arts projects

  • Songs, Rhymes

  • Science – plant based experiments, variables/controls, scientific method

  • Creative Writing

  • Food Science, Nutrition, Cultural Cooking

  • Worksheets

  • Leadership and Service Learning Projects

  • Life Skills and Career Explorations

  • Standardized Test-Formatted Reading Passages

School Projects

Delaware City Schools

(Delaware County)

  • Conger Elementary

  • Dempsey Middle School

  • Schultz Elementary

  • Woodward Elementary

Olentangy Local School District

(Delaware County)

  • Johnnycake Corners Elementary

  • Tyler Run Elementary

  • Wyandot Run Elementary