Q1: WINTER 2023


D.C. Teachers Night @ U.S. Botanic Garden

Thursday, Feb 2nd, 6:00-8:00PM

Save the Date

Spring into School Gardening

Saturday, March 25th, 11:00 - 12:00PM

* ECP Cohort at 10:00AM *


How are you celebrating Black History Month this year?

Maybe you will share about remarkable Black innovators and creators throughout history with your students. Have you heard about George Crum? Christin shares part of his story in an accessible and fun video below that you can use as a jumping off point to discuss Black connections to food and agriculture, how mistakes can become the biggest successes, and how potato chips are made.

Will you focus on literacy and language learning? Check out this critically reviewed selection of social justice books for children on Black History from Teaching for Change. We also will have an updated list of Black-owned farms and food justice organizations in the DMV coming out on our Instagram later this month that you can pull from to share about current Black leaders working to transform our food system. As always I ask, how can you as both an individual and educator move beyond acknowledgment and consumption and toward healing historical harms to support local Black-led land work?

I invite you to center Black joy, resistance, and rest in your garden-based learning this month, as well as every month.

In celebration and solidarity,




  • Caring for your tools will ensure that they will last longer, will be easier to use, cause less damage to plants, and help prevent the spread of diseases. Steps for tool care include cleaning and sanitizing, sharpening, repairing, conditioning, and storing. Learn how to care for your tools with Master Gardeners from Northern VA (thank you DUG newsletter garden tip section!).

  • Winter pruning for fruit trees is great because the tree is dormant (with no leaves, flowers, or fruit). In dormancy, the tree is saving its energy getting ready to fuel blossom, leaf, branch, and root growth, so you are able to trim branches without damaging the tree. When spring comes, instead of the tree using its energy on the growth of poor quality branches, it will focus that energy on growing the best branches and on producing fruit. It is also easier to see your tree's structure and to decide which cuts to make in winter. Branch growth slows down in late fall/early winter so if done too early, the tree cannot heal the cuts properly and this could invite disease or other damage to the tree. Learn how to prune most trees during the winter.





AKA Worm Warriors Fight Waste!

You can keep the momentum going for your school garden during the colder months by doing projects with your students indoors! This could include seed starting for the spring, garden planning or taking up vermicomposting like our partner school, Bruce-Monroe. Vermicomposting is a fun and easy way to bring the garden into your classroom and introduce concepts like decomposers, composting, soil, life cycles, and more.

At Bruce-Monroe, we worked with the Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 2nd grade teams to train teachers on how to make worms bin and utilize them in their curriculum. Students were able to work together to create a worm bin for their classroom and learn how to handle worms safely. Classrooms will take care of their worm bins and use the compost for seed starting for their gardens.

If you’re interested in creating a worm bin for your classroom, check out this handy vermicomposting guide to get started! Not sure how to utilize your worms in your classroom? Check out WYG’s Let It Rot Curriculum, FoodPrints lesson on worms, or connect it back to literacy using books like Compost Stew and Dairy of a Worm.



Next Outdoor Learning Gathering

Feb 15th, 4-5:30pm

Virtual on Teams

This month, listen to a conversation with DGS to learn more about the Capitol LEAF Program and other initiatives to support Outdoor Learning. Connect with fellow educators who bring students outdoors to learn in D.C.  

Register here.

Soul Fire Farm Liberation on the Land Video Series - Seed Keeping // Conservacion de Semillas

This video is part of the Soul Fire Farm Liberation on Land Skillshare Video Series. Seeds are living links of a historical chain and much more! Join Soul Fire Farm as they prepare you to start keeping seeds for your farm, garden, or community.

Watch here.

D.C. Area Black Lives Matter at School Year of Purpose and Week of Action

Feb 6th-10th, 2023

This local week of action focuses on improving the school experience for students of color. Find lessons and resources that help educators to reflect on their own work in relationship to anti-racist pedagogy and abolitionist practice and center Black lives in their classrooms. Sign up to participate here.

D.C. Environmental Education Consortium's Teachers' Night TOMORROW

Thurs, Feb 2nd, 6-8pm

Back in-person at the lush and warm U.S. Botanic Garden! Join environmental non-profits and organizations that support schools to learn about their offerings and get resources to enhance your outdoor and environmental education. We will be raffling off two cooking kits for classroom use!

Register here.

We find amazing garden-based resources through other newsletters we subscribe to. Receive the extensive DC Urban Gardener's Network's newsletter below.


Come see us next time you're at the National Arboretum!

The Arboretum is open every day from 8 AM - 5 PM except December 25th.

Check Our Website for Full Details >

Washington Youth Garden is the youth outreach and education branch of Friends of the National Arboretum. By supporting FONA, you support WYG connecting thousands of students each year to food, the land, and each other.
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Friends of the National Arboretum
3501 New York Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002
FONA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization with the mission to preserve and enhance a vibrant public space and support experiential programming that instills a love of plants, nature and the outdoors in all who visit, while promoting the overarching research and education mission of the U.S. National Arboretum.

Since its inception, FONA has helped support the Washington Youth Garden, Capitol Columns, Flowering Tree Walk, horticultural and research internships, restoration of Springhouse Run, and much more.
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