Youth in Nature and Horticulture 

Youth in Nature and Horticulture 

Positive experiences in nature foster mental and physical wellness and the desire to protect and care for natural spaces. We inspire youth to connect to nature through science and art, career exploration and gardening, and by spending more time outdoors.   


Lab experiments, propagation, tree climbing and more!  High-school students employed by Bright Spot Farm come to Mt. Cuba for four weeks each winter to learn about plant science, conservation methods, and to explore a variety of career opportunities including horticulture, arboriculture, research, and public engagement. 

Mt. Cuba Center’s gardens are a great place for young people to gather in a beautiful location for hikes, picnics, hayrides, art programs, or simply to relax.  Groups like the Garage Youth Center in nearby Chester County, PA, visit routinely. To supplement their experiences in the gardens, we provide horticulture and career programming at their centers.   

“The Garage has greatly benefitted from our partnership with Mt Cuba. Visits to Mt. Cuba give our students opportunities to enjoy nature. Students have participated in planting projects to both beautify The Garage, but also teach students about sustainability. Mt. Cuba empowers our students to both see value in beautiful green spaces, but also expose them to ways to support their community and career ideas.”   

  • Aaron Smith, Avon Grove Site Supervisor, The Garage Community and Youth Center

School gardens with native plants provide a wonderful opportunity for students, teachers, and families to connect first-hand with the beautiful flowers and the amazing wildlife they attract – like butterflies and hummingbirds.  Examples of our school partnerships are highlighted here. 

Hillendale Elementary 

Hillendale Elementary, a US Department of Education Green Ribbon School in the Unionville Chadds Ford School district, provides numerous outdoor learning spaces for their students. In partnership with Mt. Cuba Center, 4th-grade students select native plants to add to their school grounds.  New entrance gardens that support our pollinators and provide both beauty and learning opportunities, have been planted.  Plans include adding native plants to the school property each year. 

The inspiration, resources, and knowledge we have gained through our partnership with Mt. Cuba Center has been an invaluable asset in solidifying our student’s connection with nature, our community, and their impact on the world around them. Thank you for helping us empower our children through sustainability in action!

  • Chelsea Wirth, parent and PTO garden lead 

Skyline Middle School 

A sensory experience in a beautiful courtyard garden engages students in Skyline Middle Schools autistic support program.  Mt. Cuba Center staff work alongside the teachers and students to select and install plants and maintain the garden.  Students enjoy hands-on experience with pruning, planting, garden care, and propagation.   

The Autism Support Classroom at Skyline has been so fortunate to have the guidance of support of the staff at Mt. Cuba in designing and creating our school sensory garden. From teaching our students valuable vocational skills relating to landscape design and maintenance to hosting our students for a visit to the Mt. Cuba gardens, the staff at Mt. Cuba have gone above and beyond to meet the unique learning needs of our students. The Sensory Garden we have worked together to create will continue to be a place for learning and enjoyment for all Skyline students for many years to come! We truly love and appreciate our partnership with Mt. Cuba! 

  • Casey B. Sandy, Autism Support Teacher, Skyline Middle School 

Mt. Cuba Center offers guided outdoor learning for students in grades Pre-K – 12. Choose a full or half-day experience to supplement classroom learning, home-school activities, or scout troop exploration.  We accommodate groups of up to 15 students. 

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