Youth Activities

CGCI Youth Coordinator:   Lisa Cosand

We have been helping to support youth gardening groups in California with leadership, knowledge, supplies, awards and scholarships since 1931. girl planting flowers
  • We know what it takes to create great gardens.
  • We know what it takes to raise great kids.
  • We are building programs that introduce young people to gardening, conservation, protection of wildlife, recognition of plants, trees and shrubs, basic flower arrangements, and a love and appreciation of nature.
  • The goal is to help teach youth to be responsible and capable citizens with greater self-expression, dignity, integrity and knowledge of their environment.
    In addition to the educational programs offered there are fun things like contests and awards.
  • Earn recognition, pride and a few dollars for your youth gardeners.   Check the tabs or go to the CGCI Awards Program for complete details.    

The deadline for all Youth entries, including Pollinator Poster Contest is December 1
EXCEPTION: Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster contest – DEADLINE January 24
Note:    NGC/CGCI Release for Publication and Website  form should be filled out and signed by the parent / guardian and kept on file by any Garden Club that takes pictures of children for use in publicity in any media format, including Newspapers, Newsletters, Websites, etc.  Release form

Youth Garden Clubs pay no dues

Youth New/Renewal Form

There s something for every age group
Ecotots (pre-school-K)
Junior (1st “ 6th grade)
Intermediate (7th “ 9th grade)
High School (9th “ 12th grade)

Youth groups can be organized in schools, churches, recreational and after-school programs, Scouts, 4-H, FFA, FHA, Campfire, and similar groups.


Each category of youth gardeners

    • must be sponsored by a CGCI federated garden club or District
    • must be registered annually with both appropriate CGCI and NGC chairmen
    • have all privileges of CGCI except the right to vote and hold office

Sponsors are encouraged to work directly or indirectly with the youth group in one or more of the following:

    • Leadership, teaching talent, financial support, or any other help to effectively provide and assist in carrying out a quality youth gardening program.
    • Assist leader in applying for awards, compiling books of evidence, and individual honors at State, Regional and National levels to bring recognition to the sponsor and California Garden Clubs, Inc.
    • Maintain close contact with the youth leader so that the youth group gets information on awards, grants and materials shared at CGCI Fall/Winter board meetings and conventions.
    • Sponsoring Club or District is required to submit an Annual Renewal form due by June 1.
Bay Bridges El Cerrito El Cerrito High School Community & Memorial Garden Project
Buttes Lake Oroville Area Ecotots-(K); Junior- (grade 1-5)
Cascade Anderson Valley Monarch Learning Center
Channel Islands Conejo Valley Mariposa School
Channel Islands Ventura County  
Diablo Foothills Walnut Creek Muirwood Elementary School, Rio Vista Elementary School
Orange County San Clemente Boys and Girls Club of So. Orange Co
Concordia Elementary
Lady of Fatima School
Las Palmas Elementary
Lobo Elementary
Marblehead Elementary School
Palisades Elementary
San Clemente High School
Shorecliffs Middle School
Truman Benedict Elementary
Vista Del Mar K-8
Palomar Bonita Valley  
Palomar Poway Valley Poway Valley Youth Garden Club
San Fernando Valley Cherry Blossom  
San Fernando Valley Southern California Mid Valley Family YMCA Preschool
Santa Clara Valley Green Thumb of Milpitas Randall Elementary School Garden
Valley Lode Foothill  


CGCI Chairman
Charlotte Tucker,
Mail posters to:
Charlotte Tucker, 18047 Lime Kiln Road,
Sonora, CA 95370
The deadlines listed in the rules are for CALIFORNIA entries only
Poster Rules & Evaluation Form 2023
Deadline to CGCI Chairman: JANUARY 24, 2024
Must be received by the above date so mail early!
CGCI Local Poster Chairman link to Report

The Smokey Bear/Woodsy Owl Poster Contest is sponsored by National Garden Clubs and the U.S. Forest Service. CGCI has participated in the contest for over fifty years.   The contest has drawn as many as 34,000 entries.   California has had TWO national Grand Prize winners in the past and several students have received 1st place for their grade level! Children from first through fifth grade are invited to participate providing students the opportunity to demonstrate through original drawings of Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl their understanding of wildfire prevention and basic environmental conservation principles.

State Level:   California Garden Clubs, Inc. will award $25 to each of the California first place winners in all five grades.   Certificates will be awarded in each grade level.
National Level:   The National Grand Prize Winner of the Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl Poster Contest will be honored with a Recognition Ceremony in Washington, DC.   Round-trip airfare and accommodations for four will be provided.   National Garden Clubs will award $50 to each of the First-Place national winners in all five grades.



Smokey Bear is recognized nationally and internationally as the symbol for wildfire prevention.   The original Smokey Bear appeared in 1944. Smokey s message, œOnly You Can Prevent Wildfires! encourages personal responsibility for wildfire prevention.   Smokey Bear teaches children and adults to be careful with campfires, barbecues, trash fires, and matches.



Woodsy Owl is America s icon for the conservation of the environment.   Since 1971, Woodsy has helped parents and teachers inspire children to observe, explore, and care for the environment.   He challenges children to œLend a Hand, Care for the Land! and to take an active role in caring for the land through recycling, reusing, and reducing waste; planting and caring for trees; using resources wisely; and not littering.


CGCI Chairman
Lisa Cosand,
Mail Posters to
Lisa Cosand, 6152 Chesebro Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91031.
NEW CGCI CONTEST:   The Pollinator poster Contest is now a contest in California.
Winning entries are eligible for Pacific Region Garden Clubs awards.

Poster Rules & Evaluation Form
Deadline:  December 1, 2023

Encouraging youth to keep our planet green by Reusing, Recycling, Repurposing.
Open to children in 4th grade through 8th grade
Contest Rules/Evaluation Form
Awards: CGCI: 1st $25 each grade
Deadline: SUBMIT BY DECEMBER 1 To Youth Awards Chairman, Lisa Cosand

Create a sculpture using recyclables

  • The width of the sculpture can be no more than 8 1/2³ x 11³
  • Height should be proportional to the width
  • Entries should include as many photographs as can be printed on the back of the entry form; (2) 4×6 photographs are recommended
  • See updated Sculpture Contest Rules at the NGC Website ( under œYouth Contests.

JUNIOR ESSAYS – Award #64:
Essay Contest Rules/Evaluation Form
2023 Theme/Title:  The Lives of Plants 
Open to youth in grades 1-5:   Section A.   Grades 1-3 (30-50 words);   Section B.     Grades 4-5 (100-200 words)
Deadline:   SUBMIT BY DECEMBER 1 TO CGCI YOUTH ESSAY/POETRY CHAIRMAN listed on the Evaluation Form
Awards:   CGCI:   1st $20,   2nd $15, 3rd $10 in each section
An original essay using one side of an 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper.
On application form include

  • name, age and address of applicant;
  • name of counselor; sponsor or sponsoring club; and district.  
  • Clip the application form to the essay.

YOUTH POETRY – Award #62
Evaluation Form
Eligibility:   Special Education and English as a Second Language: Kindergarten through Ninth Grade.
General Education: Kindergarten through Ninth Grade.
Awards:   CGCI: 1st Place: $20, 2nd Place: $15, 3rd Place: $10

Contest Rules:

  • All entries must be typed and titled
  • Include name, address, age, grade, and school of participant on the back of entry
  • Sponsoring garden club and state garden club name must also be identified
  • Sponsoring garden club may be that of a grandparent
  • All entries become the property of National Garden Clubs, Inc.
  • Poems do not have to rhyme. Poems may be traditional verse, acrostics, blank verse, cinquains, diamond poems, limerick or Haiku

Note: Only regional winners are considered in the judging for national winners. Contest winners will not be allowed to win two consecutive years. All of the winning entries will be compiled into a booklet, which will be made available to the winner