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Staff Contact Information

April Martin, Director,

Charla Wanta, Education Programs Manager, 

Nadia Mercer, Garden Manager, 

Mission and Goals

The Washington Youth Garden uses the garden cycle as a tool to enrich science learning, inspire environmental stewardship and cultivate healthy food choices in youth and families.

The Washington Youth Garden is a project of the Friends of the National Arboretum with support from the U.S. National Arboretum


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. WYG receives in-kind support from USNA including land, soil amendments, office and greenhouse space, equipment use and horticultural expertise. 

Visit our blog and Facebook page to learn more about our programs and special events and to experience them and the garden in real time.

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