School Gardens ‘Magical’: Conference Oct. 7

girl holding plant

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A school garden can be a magical place for kids, says Sue Hogan.

“Especially if they don’t live in the best environment, it can be peaceful, interesting and exciting — an alternative to their everyday life.”

That’s one reason why Hogan, a 4-H educator for Ohio State University Extension, is coordinating the fourth annual Ohio School Garden Conference, whose theme is “Getting Back to Our Roots.”

The event will be held 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7 at The Ohio State University’s Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Drive, on the Columbus campus.

The idea is to help teachers, administrators, after-school program personnel and interested community members start and maintain school gardens, which provide ample opportunities for hands-on learning about everything from science to art, Hogan said.

Registration is $55, which includes lunch. Online registration, including options for paying by check or purchase order, is available at

As with past conferences, presenters will cover a wide variety of topics, Hogan said. This year, sessions will include:

  • School Rooftop Gardens
  • Native American Garden
  • Gardening with Youth in Urban Schools
  • Bioscience Activities
  • Controlling Garden Pests
  • Farm to School
  • Junior Master Gardener Curriculum
  • Garden-based Nutrition Education
  • After-school Gardening
  • Herb Education
  • Garden-themed Art

In addition, the conference will allow ample time for networking among participants.

“That can be a crucial aspect for sustaining a school garden,” Hogan said, adding that the ability to get to know others with experience in school gardening and how they overcame various challenges can be a valuable resource.

The conference has grown since its first year, when it drew about 50 participants. The second year attracted about 100, and last year, about 130, Hogan said. Those conferences were all held in the spring, which can be a difficult time for teachers to get away from the classroom; Hogan changed the timing for this year’s conference in the hope that more would be able to participate and to allow ample time for planning for spring gardens.

The conference is being sponsored by OSU Extension, the outreach arm of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

For more information, contact Hogan at



For more information contact: 
CFAES News Team

Sue Hogan
614-866-6900, ext. 214