2024 Education Symposium

Education Elevated: Cultivating Transformative Experiences

As educators, we facilitate deep and meaningful connections with nature. How can more of these connections become lasting transformations? Together we can look beyond the horizon to envision how public gardens can grow their relevance in shaping a more sustainable future for our planet.

Dates: August 19-21, 2024
Location: Red Butte Garden at the University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Salt Lake City

  • January 2, 2024: Submissions open
  • February 16, 2024: Proposals due
  • Mid March 2024: Notification of acceptance
  • May 1, 2024:  Registration opens

Individuals who are public horticulture professionals, volunteers, or trustees with current Association membership are eligible to present and submit the sessions as the Session Lead Presenter.

Anyone with an interest in public horticulture from disciplines or organizations outside public horticulture are strongly encouraged to join us as presenters. However, commercial service providers and non-members may not serve as a Session Lead Presenter for sessions but are encouraged to collaborate with others to submit session ideas and participate as presenters.

Interested in becoming a member? Email info@publicgardens.org for details.

Session Lead Presenter Expectations

  • Coordinate session logistical details
  • Organize session focus, format, and presenters
  • Develop session content
  • Specify session room/site setup and audiovisual needs

Symposium Planning Committee/Association will:

  • Notify all presenters when a session is accepted
  • Provide guidance, as needed, to session presenters
  • Work to resolve specified room/site setup and audiovisual needs

For any questions, please contact Jeanette Henderson, Education Community Liasion, at jhenderson@publicgardens.org.

The Education Symposium will feature a variety of sponsorship and promotional opportunities to choose from. Corporate members interested in sponsored workshop or speaking opportunities should contact Sara Wilson Meyer at swmeyer@publicgardens.org.

Review the following format descriptions in order to determine which best fits your proposed session.

35 Minute Presentation: Presentations or discussions that are structured and focused on a single topic are highly encouraged, with one to two speakers being recommended for the presentation. The time allocated for the presentation includes Q&A.

75 Minute Presentation: A variety of formats may be used to build 75-minute sessions, such as panel discussions, case study comparisons, interactive formats with small group breakouts, and more. Multiple presenters are encouraged to lend broader perspectives to these longer sessions.

2.5 Hours Workshop: This format is ideal for workshop leaders to share their knowledge in a focused learning opportunity. Workshops usually have an interactive, hands-on component to enhance the learning experience. Workshops require a workshop registration fee per attendee unless subsidized through sponsorship. The average workshop attendance is 15-20 participants.

The following is a list of possible topics. This list is in no way exhaustive and is intended to inspire and guide you as you develop session submissions.

Growing Our Relevance: How does your work meet the evolving needs of your region and create transformative change? How do you build community buy-in to your programs? Are you telling a compelling story about impact to your funders?  How is your “next” informed by data? What is your organization doing to capture future relevance?

Educating for Stewardship and Environmental Justice: How is your organization talking about environmental and socio-economic challenges? What are the most effective strategies for botanic gardens to use their sites for beauty and healing while messaging about the importance of plants for our planet’s future? Are you sharing perspectives from a diversity of cultures and world views? How are you getting teens to talk about plants and our environment?

All Together Now: What strategies help remove barriers and increase access? What steps must gardens take to better reflect our communities? How do you align your fundraising practices with your community’s priorities? What voices do we need to hear from and magnify to effectively implement IDEA?

Cultivating Community: How do you bring collaboration and partnerships that support education into existence? What methods does your team engage in to support and sustain educational partnerships? How does community building impact your institutional mission (inside and outside your gates)? What professional development and departmental goals do your partners help you achieve?

Garden Pedagogy: Are people raving about your training and you have a model to share? What are the best methods for developing science content? What is your process for ensuring interpretation speaks to our diverse audiences? How do you evolve your own pedagogy?

Other: what did we miss and you’d like to share?

Sessions Should:

  • Offer practical takeaways for participants, share planning, evaluation, or other tools, if possible.
  • Offer an inside perspective on what it takes to build engaging, entertaining content that educates in a public garden/arboretum space and connects the audience to nature.
  • 75-minute presentations and workshops should engage with the audience and allow time for discussion; attendees learn from each other as well as the speaker(s).

Session Selection Criteria:

  • Intent and learning outcomes for attendees are focused, well presented, and thoughtfully articulated
  • Topic and presenters (when applicable) represent a wide range of perspectives, regions, and garden sizes/budgets/missions
  • Presentation appeals to all levels of experience
  • Session is pragmatic and allows participants to learn from one another in addition to the speaker(s)

Association Staff and Planning Committee Members reserve the right to edit the title and description. Requested AV and room setup will be accommodated as able but cannot be guaranteed.

  • Lead Presenter’s Information
    • Name
    • Email
    • Phone Number
    • Job Title
    • Organization/Affiliation
    • Are you a member of APGA?
  • Co-Presenter information
  • Presentation Format (35-, 75- Session or Workshop)
  • Presentation Focus Area (select multiple from list)
  • Presentation Title: Titles should be concise and to the point. Your title should accurately reflect the content of your session.
  • Presentation Description: Create an engaging description that will attract attendees and be used for selection and marketing purposes. (250 word max)
  • Learning Outcomes: Explain what action/outcomes you want your participants to take as a result of your presentation/workshop. (50 word max)
  • AV & Supplies Requirements (select all that apply from list)
  • Room Setup (select all that apply from list)

By submitting a session proposal, you agree to the following on behalf of all those listed in your session:

  1. All speakers must register for the symposium or may choose to present and attend only their session. Registration discounts or waivers are not available for speakers. (Note that we invite applications in May for financial assistance through our Garden Scholars program)
  2. Any expenses incurred to participate in this conference are the speakers’ responsibility and will not be reimbursed by the Association. This also applies to printed materials as Association Staff will not have the ability to print materials for attendees and speakers while onsite.
  3. No substantive changes in content or presenters are made without prior written approval from Association Staff or Symposium Planning Committee.
  4. The Association will be notified immediately if an emergency would prevent this session from being presented at the Symposium. In the event an originally listed presenter is unable to attend, the session coordinator will provide a substitute presenter of equal expertise for approval by the Association.
  5. I warrant and represent that this session/workshop is my own original work, factually accurate, conforms to IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility) principles, and contains nothing libelous or otherwise unlawful. I have the authority to present the content in my presentation or I have obtained all necessary permissions or licenses from any persons or organizations whose material is included or used in my presentation.
  6. During my presentation I will not engage in any type of promotional marketing or selling of any product or service whose material is included or used in my presentation.