Educating young people about gardening and sustainability is the focus of West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension Service’s free Junior Master Gardener (JMG) training session Friday, Nov. 14, from 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the WVSU Keith Scholars Hall in Institute. The workshop provides preschool and early education teachers and community educators with curriculum and ideas to be used in their classrooms.

JMG traditionally targets youth beginning in third grade with a focus on health, nutrition, wildlife education, plant growth and development, and natural resources, engaging participants with hands-on projects and activities. WVSU is spearheading a new addition to the curriculum that brings instruction to the preschool level.

“We’ve been working to adapt the program down to this new age level, and it’s working quite well,” said WVSU Extension Agent Jenny Totten. “This program is very versatile. Participants in the workshop need not have any prior experience with gardening concepts.”

The first day of the workshop will focus on preschool and early education lessons. The second day will target all other interested teachers and community educators.

“JMG nurtures an interest in gardening and agriculture in kids at a young age,” said Totten. “It provides experience with the fundamentals of gardening and introduces science, nature and even literature using fun, educational activities.”

Registration is required by contacting Jenny Totten at To learn more about the Junior Master Gardener program, visit