“We have turned 54% of the lower 48 states into a matrix of cities, suburbs, roads, airports, power and pipelines, shopping centers, golf courses, infrastructure, and isolated habitat fragments, with 41% more of the U.S. into various forms of agriculture. That’s right: we humans have taken 95% of the natural world and made it unnatural,” explains Doug Tallamy, Wild Ones Lifetime Honorary Director, University of Delaware entomologist and renowned author of “Bringing Nature Home” and “Nature’s Best Hope.”
Wild Ones proudly partners with youth serving organizations to help reverse this trend by bringing back critical wild space and instilling an appreciation for nature in the next generation by funding native plant projects through the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program (SFE) administered by Wild Ones. The youth involved learn about the benefits of native plants while getting a close-up view of butterflies, songbirds and other creatures that use these plants for vital food or shelter.
The Seeds for Education Grant Program honors Lorrie Otto, who inspired school garden projects in the 1970s in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. For more than 20 years, Wild Ones has awarded SFE grants to youth-serving organizations for acquiring native plants and seeds for outdoor learning areas that engage youth (preschool to high school) directly in planning, planting and caring for native plant gardens throughout the United States.
In 2022 alone, Wild Ones proudly awarded over $9,500 in funds and partnered with 24 youth-serving organizations in 19 states on critical native plant projects. Below are the organizations Wild Ones has provided funding to this year:
- Beacon Park School, California
- Casa dei Girasoli Montessori School, South Carolina
- Central Ridge Elementary School, Florida
- City of Lakes Waldorf School Loring Campus, Minnesota
- Elkhart Monarch Flyway, Illinois
- Elmhurst Elementary School, North Carolina
- Grayhawk Elementary School, Arizona
- Hayward Twin Oaks Montessori School, California
- Inly School Inc, Massachusetts
- Jefferson County History Center, Pennsylvania
- McCrossan Boys Ranch, South Dakota
- Monarch Montessori of Denver Charter, Colorado
- Northern Youth Project, New Mexico
- Occidental College, California
- Pearce Hall Alternative School, Missouri
- Perry Early Learning Center, Michigan
- PS5 PTA, New Jersey
- Russo McEntee Academy, California
- Santa Cruz Alternative Family Education (AFE), California
- Sleeping Giant Middle School (F2SPC), Montana
- Toler Elementary School, California
- Waterways Association of Menominee and Shawano Counties, Inc., Wisconsin
- Watkins Middle School (Southwest Licking School District), Ohio
- Waynesburg University, West Virginia
Jen Ainsworth, Executive Director of Wild Ones said, “We are pleased to support the youth and staff at these great organizations as they learn about native plants, pollinators, and supporting biodiversity/nature with this project. We look forward to sharing with Wild Ones members the impact these projects have on their communities as they develop in the coming months and years.”
Wild Ones would like to extend our deepest appreciation to volunteer SFE program committee members board members Rita Ulrich and Sally Wencel and especially to program chair, board member Michele Hensey for all the time, effort and expertise lent to successfully coordinate this program.
We would also like to warmly thank the following volunteers for their thoughtful review of all 2022 SFE applications: Michele Chalice, Partner at Large; Pamela Janssen, Wild Ones Chesapeake Chapter; Sheri Glowinski, Wild Ones Illinois Prairie Chapter; Tamara O’Brien, Wild Ones Western Pennsylvania Chapter; and Maurya Orr, Wild Ones Greater DuPage Chapter.