WVSU Extension Agent Helps Cultivate Young Minds in Junior Master Gardener Certification Program

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
February 21, 2022
WVSU Extension Agent Helps Cultivate Young Minds
in Junior Master Gardener Certification Program
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension Agent Caroline Copenhaver is helping students at Ebenezer Community Outreach Center in Huntington become Certified Wildlife Gardeners through the Junior Master Gardener Program.

The project has been a collaboration with A.D. Lewis Community Center and Ebenezer Community Outreach Center, both located in Huntington, West Virginia. Participants ages 6-12 have had an ongoing opportunity to engage with wildlife and gardening while honing critical thinking and observation skills. Youths have also engaged with West Virginia’s food system, gaining skills from planting and post-harvest knowledge to food safety and entrepreneurship.
“We created a hands-on learning environment within the outdoor classroom and planted over 25 different fruits and vegetables,” explained Copenhaver. Over three years, 114 youths have enrolled in our programming, including summer camps and after school offerings. Twenty-five participants have completed their Wildlife Gardener certifications while helping maintain and develop the Maudella Taylor Garden. 

Evaluations have found that 83% of the youth would, after program participation, like to work in a job that involves gardening.
Copenhaver said her favorite part about the program was getting to know the students and learning alongside them.

“The kids always asked such great questions,” she said.                   

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multigenerational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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