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DUG’s Youth Education programs aim to connect kids to the earth and the food that comes from it.

Cultivating a love of nature as a caretaker of the planet must be experienced rather than taught. We believe that gardens provide kids with positive experiences that cultivate their sense of wonder and curiosity as they learn where their food comes from. When kids see first-hand how to grow food, they learn that their actions can make a difference for themselves and their community. Eating something they have nurtured gives kids a sense of ownership, agency, and a strong sense of pride.

DUG provides programming and resources for both students and teachers to get students outside and in the gardens as a hands-on learning experience.

For more than thirty years, Denver Urban Gardens has worked in partnership with Denver, Aurora, Jefferson County, Englewood, and Douglas County Public Schools.  Currently, there are 66 DUG school-based community gardens across the metro Denver area. Most of these gardens are shared spaces for schools and communities to grow together.

There are so many ways to get involved with DUG!

Our programs and partnerships bring us into your classroom, provide resources for introducing gardening and natural education for your kids and support educators across all levels.

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DUG Resources

We believe the lessons offered in a garden are life-changing for children of all backgrounds. Through the wonders of a garden, students experience hands-on lessons in health, earth and life sciences, math, literacy, social science, and community building.

ECE Garden-Based
Lesson Plans

Our ECE gardening-based lesson plans for educators offer a range of engaging activities and lessons designed to ignite curiosity and nurture a love for science in the littlest of learners.



Our monthly webinars cover simple and engaging ways to support the wonder of early learners in the garden throughout the year.


Farmer Dave + Friends
Video Collaboration

DUG meets up with Rocky Mountain PBS stars Farmer Dave (and his friends!) in DUG gardens across Denver as we have fun in nature!


DUG in Your Classroom

DUG offers 30 to 45-minute classroom programs for your students with a specific focus on younger learners (ECE – K).

The Wonder of Seeds (Grades PreK-1):

Let’s investigate seeds in all shapes and sizes–classifying, observing and putting our knowledge about seeds to the test. How do seeds germinate? How do they grow? We’ll explore, providing your classroom with seeds you can grow on your own.

Soil Superheroes (Grades PreK- 2):

Learn about the importance of soil and how healthy soil makes things grow. The main objective of this lesson is to to introduce young students to the world of composting with our superheroes — the red wiggler worms. We’ll discover how these worms work in the soil, our superheroes of the composting process.

Seed Starting (Grades PreK – 2):

Pro-seed with the fun by getting your plants started indoors. We’ll get you set up with seeds, soil, and a way to learn first-hand where our food comes from inside your classroom. (Note: This program has limited availability depending on season)

Peck, Scratch and Squawk-Everyday Use of Chickens in the Garden (PreK-5):

In this class students will be introduced to aviculture, specifically poultry birds and their use in a garden or farm. They will gain knowledge about the several types of Poultry, in animal husbandry, birds raised commercially or domestically for meat, eggs, and feathers. The participants will also learn about the basic upkeep of birds which includes: Nutrition, Housing, and Breeds.

Working with older students (grades 3-12)?

DUG offers tailored programming by request for older students at elementary and secondary grade levels. Contact us to learn more about collaborating on programming around gardening, nutrition, food justice, cooking skills, and more.

To schedule a DUG educator to come to your school, please fill out our interest form and we’ll follow up with you.

DUG Youth Ed Partnerships

DUG collaborates with partners to support programming in schools and in communities. School partners for these programs are selected in advance and are based on goals defined by our mission, funding sources, and collaborators.


A Bilingual (English and Spanish) garden club offered in partnership at selected schools in the Denver region.

These clubs are designed to welcome K-2 children into the garden space, planting the seed of gardening in their minds as a vital part of their lives. Kids are exposed to gardening books, arts and crafts, and direct hands-in-the-soil gardening. Through guiding questions, our instructors connect kids with key concepts such as plant anatomy, decomposition, root vegetables, pollinators, and more.

Want to start a garden club at your school? Email Riley Dehr, Youth Programs Coordinator, at and we can support you with resources and tools on your journey!

Seed to Plate to Regenerate (SPR)

SPR provides nutritious food to thousands of youth in Denver and supports Denver families through innovative and engaging educational opportunities for children to grow, learn about, and cook healthy food.

Denver Urban Gardens, Slow Food Denver, and We Don’t Waste are working collaboratively to educate and inspire students with a special focus on increasing nutritious food access and security.

SPR provides food systems education at elementary Denver Public Schools (DPS), prioritizing schools with existing DUG gardens. Capitalizing on each organization’s expertise and strengths, SPR provides students with hands-on activities related to gardening, cooking and food tasting, nutrition, composting, and food waste reduction. Activities include classroom experiences, cooking classes, school-wide food waste audit programs, food distribution, and after-school programming (i.e., gardening clubs).

The Growing Scientists Program

A robust collaboration between six Title I schools, families, and five cultural organizations: Denver Urban Gardens, Colorado Ballet, Butterfly Pavilion, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Bird Conservancy of the Rockies.

The Growing Scientists cultural partners provide no-cost STEAM programming for Pre-K to 3rd-grade students from underserved communities. The program, rooted in current state science standards and national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), complements classroom lesson plans and provides children with inspiring opportunities to acquire STEAM skills and knowledge as they learn by doing alongside their teachers and parents/guardians. Each organization provides activities for a grade level from Pre-Kindergarten to 3rd grade.


Explore the resources offered by some of our community partners.

Looking for a deeper volunteer commitment with DUG and youth education?

Our DUG Cultivator Program educates community volunteers in all aspects of working with youth to foster their gardening skills and to connect kids to the earth and the food that comes from it. If you are interested in becoming a Cultivator, let us know and we’ll be in touch!

Denver Urban Gardens is proud to receive program support through Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids.