129: Ping Honzay on Garden Based Education Resources

Providing educators with methods and tools for garden based education.


Ping is currently Member Programs Associate for the American Horticultural Society (AHS), where she coordinates national garden programs including the annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium for educators and others who work to connect kids with plants and the natural world.  She has an M.S. in Natural Resources with a focus in environmental education, and has worked on a variety of organic farms and garden projects around the country.  When not in the office at AHS she enjoys keeping bees at River Farm, the AHS’s garden headquarters outside of Washington, DC.
Founded in 1922, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) is one of the oldest national gardening organizations in the country.  AHS works towards its mission of “Making America a Nation of Gardeners, a Land of Gardens” by providing educational resources such as its award-winning magazine The American Gardener, programming and events both nationally and locally at its River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, VA, recognizing outstanding gardening practices through its awards program, and more.


In this podcast: Ping and Greg discuss the importance of teaching youth to garden. They compare notes about their garden experiences with kids and the miracles the kids believe are happening.  She shares her story of how she got started in working with kids helping them get excited about gardening and then explains about the resources of the AHS’ Annual National Children & Youth Garden Symposium. She also introduces the Great American Gardeners Awards.

Listen in and learn about:

  • How she always felt connected to the natural world and being outside
  • Her education started with a major in zoology and how a minor in botany helped her move into a masters in Natural Resources with a focus in environmental education
  • Her transition to the American Horticultural Society and helping with garden education
  • How the garden is a microcosm of the larger ecosystems and help people get in touch with smaller aspects of nature
  • Why she feels it is important for kids to get started in gardening
  • Bio philia and how humans are naturally drawn to nature
  • That plants affect us on a spiritual level and how the garden can be a gateway to more learning and developing many social skills
  • Why gardening is fundamentally an interdisciplinary activity
  • The annual National Children and Youth Gardening symposium held by the AHS to help formal and informal
  • A professional development event much like a train-the-trainer event for those who are teaching gardening skills to the youth
  • 2017 event will take place in Portland, OR and Vancouver WA area in July.
  • Who the symposium is targeting and who benefits
  • Some of the topics covered at the symposium
  • The Barkley school and the programs for non-traditional learning
  • The Great American Gardeners Awards
  • How to nominate someone for the awards
  • A play by Kiulani Le that moved and inspired her

As well as:

  • Why the 2016 symposium is what she considers her biggest success, and how her sense of community plays into that success
  • How she enjoys creating meaningful learning experiences
  • That her advice to listeners is to be curious, stay positive and flexible so that you can get something good out of everything.

Ping’s Book Recommendations:

My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics)

How to reach Ping and the American Horticultural Society:


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