Youth Programs

The Junior Master Gardener program is an international youth gardening program of the university cooperative Extension network. JMG engages children in novel, “hands-on” group and individual learning experiences that provide a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment, and cultivate the mind.

The Junior Master Gardener program is open to grades 3-5, and this after-school program is hosted by Georgia Mountains Master Gardeners. We were fortunate to receive a $500 grant from Georgia Master Gardeners Association, which funded improvements necessary to standardize the program and enable us to reach students at all three elementary schools in Lumpkin County. By rotating the mobile program into a different school each year, each elementary age student will have the opportunity to participate during one year. The permanent parts of the program (such as raised vegetable beds and other long-lasting fixtures) can be utilized by teachers to continue the program in years we are not in that school. The after-school program for 2019/2020 was held at Blackburn Elementary (though sadly curtailed by the Covid-19 pandemic). The Long Branch Elementary program scheduled for 2020/2021 has also been affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

2020-2021 Blackburn Elementary School Junior Master Gardeners

As a result of the public health emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Lumpkin County School System is not currently permitting the operation of after school activities including our program at Long Branch Elementary School..

2019-2020 Blackburn Elementary School Junior Master Gardeners

The 2019-2920 program of Junior Master Gardeners came to a premature close due to the declaration of a public health emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2018 – 2019 Lumpkin County Elementary School Diggin-It Garden Club

Collards Harvest
Potato Harvest

The “Diggin’ It” Garden Club at Lumpkin County Elementary School had a wonderful school year 2018/2019 and learned lots of fun things! Students planted (and harvested) potatoes and collard greens, and their school dietitian served them in the lunchroom. They learned about different types of soil, composting and vermiculture (worms!). There were several lessons about critters (both good and bad) including how to attract or discourage them, and students learned the importance of birds and pollinators. They learned about pruning, lots of different uses for plants and many ways of planting vegetable gardens. And students learned that there are lots of ways to propagate plants other than by planting seeds!


Make your own Insecticide

Junior Master Gardeners learning about garden insects from “Mr. Clark” (the County Extension Agent) and making spray bottles of insecticidal soap.


A new Shed for the Junior Master Gardeners

The new shed

Junior Master Gardener’s new garden club sign posted at Lumpkin County Elementary School and the new storage building that was donated to the school and will be shared by JMG for storing their supplies.



Vermiculture (October-November 2018)



Composting and Mulching (October 2018)


Junior Master Gardeners hard at work (12 October 2018)


Junior Master Gardeners learning about Square Foot Gardening and planting collards (28 September)


The JMG Diggin-It Garden Club digging potatoes (August 13, 2018).


2017 – 2018 Lumpkin County Elementary School Diggin-It Garden Club

Junior Master Gardeners and Master Gardeners Betty Petrie and Nancy Goodyear with Carly the scarecrow


Don & Kathy Sawicki and Brita Borden led the class in painting bird houses at their lesson on February 5




The JMG Diggin-It Garden Club celebrated Arbor Day by planting a water oak tree at Yahoola Park on February 19 2017.

2016 – 2017 Lumpkin County Elementary School Diggin-It Garden Club

The Georgia Mountains Master Gardeners utilized their talents to impart numerous gardening lessons during the after-school program at Lumpkin County Elementary School throughout this past year. These sixteen third, fourth and fifth graders were certified as “Junior Master Gardeners”; on April 26 in a graduation event.
They germinated, propagated, planted, fertilized, watered and harvested crops; planted fairy gardens and learned about indoor plants; learned about trees and planted a maple tree for Georgia Arbor Day in February; and learned about identifying birds and feeding birds including making birdfeeders to use at home. Congratulations to all the participants!

The Junior Master Gardeners “Digin-It” after school club learn about square foot gardening (February 22, 2017)

Arbor Day tree planting

The Georgia Mountains Master Gardeners wish to thank All Green Outdoor Center in Dawsonville for donating a beautiful 15 foot tall Autumn Blaze red maple for us to plant on Georgia Arbor Day. This year’s Master Gardener Arbor Day tree planting celebration was held on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. The specimen was planted in front of Lumpkin County Elementary School, for students, faculty and parents to enjoy and admire for many years to come.
The enthusiastic students in the Junior Master Gardener after school gardening club,”Diggin It” along with Master Gardeners and Lumpkin County Elementary School faculty planted the tree and enjoyed the annual celebration.


Sixteen third, fourth and fifth graders were certified as “Junior Master Gardeners” on April 26 in a graduation event.