Washington Youth Garden (WYG) is a one-acre education garden at the National Arboretum and is a destination for garden-based education and nature play. It was originally established in 1971 to teach local elementary students horticulture and life skills.

Today, Washington Youth Garden is a welcoming and inviting place for the DC community to learn and grow together. WYG’s sensory garden, innovative growing techniques, and nature-explore classroom encourage visitors of all ages to engage with agriculture, farming, and environmental education. Thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in WYG each year, all of which are distributed to students and families in the DC community to fight food insecurity.

view of washington youth garden planted with fall crops

Visit the Garden

The garden is open to all Arboretum visitors and has parking nearby. Please follow our three garden agreements during your visit:

  1. Stay on the path
  2. Pick with permission
  3. Respect all living things
washington youth garden guests plant garlic at the annual garlic planting party

Garden Events

We host many events open to the public throughout the year, such as School Garden Maintenance mornings, weekend Family Days, and our fall Garlic Planting Party. See our calendar for upcoming events in Washington Youth Garden.

green ambassador harvesting lettuce in the washington youth garden

Get Involved

Individual, group, and youth volunteers provide crucial help with gardening tasks such as weeding, planting, mulching, and pest control from April through mid-November. You don’t need prior experience, but you must be willing to make friends with the soil and the bugs! See our garden page to learn more.


With a focus on serving under-resourced communities, FONA nurtures curious minds and healthy bodies by connecting youth to food, the land, and each other. Our youth education programs take place at Washington Youth Garden on the grounds of the U.S. National Arboretum and in partner schools across Washington, DC.


school garden teams from D.C. Title I schools received technical assistance & training


D.C. high school Green Ambassadors honed skills & explored potential career paths


students visited the Washington Youth Garden on a field trip


students served across all Educator Coaching Program partner schools

Educator leading a SPROUT field trip in the Washington Youth Garden

School Garden Support Program

The School Garden Support Program works with educators across DC to build strong, sustainable school garden programs. Our program empowers teachers to connect students to garden-based education through field trips in Washington Youth Garden, virtual classroom support, and professional development opportunities for DC educators.

Green Ambassadors with harvested produce in the Washington Youth Garden

Green Ambassador Program

The Green Ambassador Program (GAP) provides year-round employment and development opportunities for DC high school students. Youth enter the program in the Farm Crew and progress to become Crew Leaders, staff, and alumni.


We host recreation programs and public events that encourage a connection to nature, science, health, and wellness. Check out our calendar below to see what’s available.

Forest Bathing

Connect with nature while exploring the grounds. During this two-hour program, our certified nature and forest therapy guide will invite you to reflect on the world around you and guide you through focused meditations. See calendar below for dates and times, or buy a forest bathing gift card for someone else.

capitol columns illuminated at night

Photography Workshops

Hone your nighttime photography skills by learning through sunset and sunrise photo workshops at the National Arboretum. Learn from the experts and register for a class with Capital Photography Center.

fall 5k runners jumping in the air

Fitness Activities

Stay active at the Arboretum through summer yoga classes and the spring Flowering 5K and Fall 5K running races.

Interested in becoming a 5K sponsor? Check out our race sponsorship package to learn more!

garden fair and plant sale visitor browsing plants

Garden Fair & Plant Sale

The spring Garden Fair & Plant Sale takes place every year on the last weekend of April. Shop from thousands of plants and over 25 local gardening, lifestyle, and food vendors. You can also get advice from our expert gardeners and enjoy free family activities.

fall festival and bulb sale volunteer with bulbs

Fall Festival & Bulb Sale

The annual Fall Festival & Bulb Sale takes place in late September or early October. Visitors can stock up garden bulbs, shop at local vendors, and have fun with the family through free nature-based activities.

winter festival attendees shopping from vendors

Winter Festival & Christmas Tree Sale

Join us for the annual Winter Festival & Christmas Tree Sale in early December. Visitors can buy Christmas trees and other holiday greenery, shop from over 25 local vendors, and enjoy free family activities.


Join us Tuesday, September 17th, 2024 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM for our 28th annual Dinner Under the Stars. Enjoy cocktails in the National Herb Garden and a tented dinner in view of the Capitol Columns. Spend a wonderful fall evening with colleagues, business leaders, and government representatives. The Dinner is a fantastic way to mix and mingle — senior staff and officials from Capitol Hill and the Administration will be invited, however attendance cannot be guaranteed.

Dinner Under the Stars attendees at cocktail hour
Dinner Under the Stars attendees in the tent preparing for dinner
Dinner Under the Stars attendees at cocktail hour


In our Digging In virtual event series, we host experts to discuss exciting topics pertaining to the National Arboretum’s mission.  As a FONA member, you can attend the events live and dig in with the experts.

Want to watch “Digging In” live?




sun02jun4:00 pmsun7:00 pmCommunity Fishing Nightsupplies provided, no experience necessary

sun02jun5:00 pmsun8:00 pmExtended Evening HoursGrounds open until 8 PM

sat08jun11:00 amsat2:00 pm'Grow the Garden' PartyCommunity picnic party, free and open to all

sat08jun7:00 pmsat8:30 pmMusic in the Meadow: WylderSummer Evening Concert

sat15jun9:00 amsat11:00 amFather's Day Weekend Forest Bathing with Sage & PaulGuided Meditation & Mindfulness

fri28jun5:00 pmfri8:00 pm4th Fridays Summer Evening HoursGrounds remain open until 8 PM


sat13jul9:00 amsat11:00 amForest Bathing with Sage & PaulGuided Meditation & Mindfulness

sat20jul8:00 pmsat11:00 pmMovie in the Meadow: The Hidden Life of TreesEvening outdoor movie

fri26jul5:00 pmfri8:00 pm4th Fridays Summer Evening HoursGrounds remain open until 8 PM


sat17aug9:00 amsat11:00 amForest Bathing with Sage & PaulGuided Meditation & Mindfulness

fri23aug5:00 pmfri8:00 pm4th Fridays Summer Evening HoursGrounds remain open until 8 PM

sat24aug9:00 amsat12:00 pmCommunity FishingTickets Coming Soon


sun15sep1:00 pmsun4:00 pmCommunity FishingTickets Coming Soon

tue17sep5:30 pmtue9:00 pm28th Annual Dinner Under the StarsCocktails & Tented Dinner

sun22sep9:00 amsun11:00 amFall Equinox Forest Bathing with Sage & PaulGuided Meditation & Mindfulness


mon14oct9:00 ammon11:00 amIndigenous Peoples' Day Forest Bathing with Sage & PaulGuided Meditation & Mindfulness


sun10nov9:00 amsun12:00 pmFall 5KMore Info Coming Soon

mon11nov9:00 ammon11:00 amVeteran's Day Forest Bathing with Sage & PaulGuided Meditation & Mindfulness


sat07dec10:00 amsat4:00 pmWinter Festival & Christmas Tree SaleMore Info Coming Soon

sun08dec10:00 amsun4:00 pmChristmas Tree SaleMore Info Coming Soon

tue31dec9:00 amtue4:30 pmNew Year's Eve Forest Bathing with Nicole3 Special Events, tickets go on sale 10/1

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