As our movement of native planters cultivating healthier landscapes continues to grow and spread, Wild Ones remains invigorated by our work to promote native landscapes through education, advocacy and collaborative action. It’s through this educational mission that the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education (SFE) Grant program was developed in 1997. The SFE program’s purpose is to provide meaningful learning opportunities that connect youth to nature. Grant funds are used to purchase native plant seeds and seedlings for garden projects and outdoor learning areas that engage young people. In over 25 years, this grant has awarded over $115,000 to more than 300 youth-focused projects in 42 states and US territories.
Wild Ones is pleased to announce that its 2024 Seeds for Education Grant program has awarded $10,125 to 23 projects across 15 states. Congratulations to the following organizations that have received funding this year:
- Accokeek Foundation, Maryland
- Anoka Middle School for the Arts, Minnesota
- Bishop McNamara High School, Maryland
- Cactus Park Elementary School, Nevada
- Carolina International School, North Carolina
- Congress Park Elementary School, Illinois
- Corpus Christi Catholic School, Illinois
- Dilworth-Glynond-Felton Schools ISD 2164, Minnesota
- Edgewood High School Outdoor Club, Indiana
- Elgin High School, Illinois
- Friends of Rosewood, California
- GREEN Charter Elementary School, South Carolina
- Jones Valley Teaching Farm, Alabama
- Nurture Natives, Maryland
- Prescott Unified School District, Arizona
- Rayen Early College Middle School – Youngstown City School District, Ohio
- Richardson Middle School, Illinois
- River Bend Nature Center, Wisconsin
- Thomas Prince School, a STEAM-focused public K-8 school, Massachusetts
- University of North Georgia, Georgia
- Virginia Heard Elementary School, Georgia
- Westwood High School, Texas
- Yost Elementary School, Indiana
Levi Casto, who serves as the Environmental Arts Teacher and Farm Program Manager at Cactus Park Elementary School, highlighted the significance of their funded native pollinator garden project stating, “This project is crucial to our Cactus Park and surrounding community. It will provide a safe, engaging outdoor space for children, promoting physical activity and environmental stewardship through hands-on learning.” The project, meant to attract and provide habitat for pollinator species living in the Mojave Desert biome, will engage approximately 350 elementary students. Students will participate in age-appropriate research activities on topics such as native plant selection, plant-pollinator relationships, climate suitability, and garden maintenance needs.
“We hope that these grants are more than just funds for native plants; they mark the beginning of a lifelong journey of environmental stewardship for these kids. This is how we plant the seeds of change, one project at a time,” says Jennifer Ainsworth, Wild Ones Executive Director. We look forward to sharing with Wild Ones members the impact these projects have on their communities.
Wild Ones is grateful to all the applicants who submitted applications to this grant cycle. We would also like to graciously thank the volunteers, board members, and staff for their thoughtful review of all 154 SFE applications this year.
The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant is a 100% donor-funded program, so consider donating today to help spread the seeds of change. This year, Wild Ones received over $60,000 in total requests. With your donation, we can expand this program to meet the needs of youth-serving organizations across the country. Together we can educate and engage the next generation of native planters.