Wild Ones National, chapters, and individual members support community efforts to establish or maintain natural areas, and often work with local schools, scout groups, and other organizations to create butterfly gardens, rain gardens, and other projects related to natural landscaping.
In 1996, Wild Ones created the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program to award small monetary grants to qualifying organizations who have a site available for natural-landscaping projects.
Named after Wild Ones' "philosophical compass," Lorrie Otto, money for the grant program comes almost entirely from donations from Wild Ones members and other benefactors.
Qualifying SFE projects should focus on enhancement and development of an appreciation for nature using native plants. Projects must emphasize involvement of students and volunteers in all phases of development, and must increase the educational value of the site. The program encourages creativity in design, but also requires complete and thoughtful planning.
The use of, and teaching about, native plants and the native-plant community is mandatory, and the native plants must be appropriate to the local ecoregion and site conditions.
Examples of appropriate projects:
• Design, establishment, and maintenance of a native-plant community – such as prairie, woodland, or wetland in an educational setting, such as an outdoor classroom.
• Developing and maintaining an interpretive trail landscaped with native-plant communities.
• Developing a wetland area in order to study the effect of native vegetation on water-quality improvement.
Cash awards range from $100 to $500, and will be provided only for the purchase of native plants and seed for the grant-award year.
Grant recipients are chosen by a volunteer panel of educators and naturalists.