Proud to be celebrating its 49th year, the Washington Youth Garden (WYG) provides a unique year-round environmental science and food education program for local youth and families. To this end WYG facilitates its four signature programs - Garden Science, SPROUT, Green Ambassadors, and Family Garden Day. Moreover, WYG has grown into a premiere urban demonstration and production garden serving as a favorite destination for the local community, educators, special interest groups, urban planners and countless local, national and international visitors. Washington Youth Garden nurtures curious minds and healthy bodies by connecting youth to food, the land, and each other.
WYG at the U.S. National Arboretum (USNA) is one of several youth gardens created in the mid 1960's to early 1970's by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation in conjunction with the Washington Youth Garden Council. Their goal was to teach elementary school students in D.C. horticultural skills and life skills such as team building, cooperation, personal responsibility, self-confidence and environmental stewardship. Today, WYG has expanded its environmental education focus to include nutrition and cooking education to promote healthy lifestyles through gardening. Due to D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation budget cuts in 1995, the Friends of the National Arboretum (FONA) increased fundraising efforts and “adopted” the WYG in 1996. In addition to FONA’s assistance, WYG receives generous funding from foundations and individuals, and in-kind support from USNA including land, soil amendments, office and greenhouse space, equipment use and horticultural expertise.