Pictured above: Planting a Seedlings for Schools garden at Littlewood Elementary, Gainesville.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation has awarded 2017 Seedlings for Schools grants to 30 Florida schools in 16 counties. In fall 2017, each school will receive personalized growing assistance and $50 of assorted native Florida wildflowers from a Florida Association of Native Plants nursery to plant on campus.
The program’s wildflower gardens provide a tool with which teachers can help children learn about pollinators, make scientific observations, spur creativity and much more. When applicable, teachers are urged to pair the gardens with the Foundation’s Wild About Wildflowers! Activity Guide for third- and fourth-graders, available via free download from its website. Activities and lessons in the guide are correlated to New Sunshine State Standards in language arts, math and science.
Some highlights of the 2017 awards are:
- Jose Marti MAST Middle School, Hialeah, will add its wildflowers to an arboretum holding more than 40 Florida native plants.
- The Green Team at Deerwood Elementary School, Orlando, will blog about the garden to keep everyone abreast of its progress.
- Burns Science & Technology Charter School, Oak Hill, will expand its wildflower garden (planted with a 2016 Seedlings for Schools grant), which won the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ Golden Shovel Award in 2016 with the help of the Florida Native Plant Society’s Pawpaw Chapter.
Like Burns Science & Technology Charter School, many schools have formed partnerships that will keep gardens thriving:
- Horizon Middle School, Kissimmee, will partner with the YMCA Afterschool Program to care for its garden, while Sabal Palm Elementary in North Miami Beach will partner with Oleta River State Park.
- Master Gardeners and a local landscape company will help Parkway Middle School, Lauderhill, add its wildflowers to a courtyard dedicated to its STEM Horticulture Class.
- The Sarasota Garden Club will lend a hand at Alta Vista Elementary School, while the Plantation Garden Club will assist Seminole Middle School, Plantation.
Teachers are enthusiastic and look forward to using wildflowers as teaching tools during hands-on nature lessons. Consider volunteering at a Seedlings for Schools garden near you!
2017 Seedlings for Schools Grant Winners
Academy of Environmental Science, Crystal River
Alta Vista Elementary, Sarasota
Brentwood Elementary, Sarasota
Buck Lake Elementary School, Tallahassee
Burns Science & Technology Charter School, Oak Hill
Celebration K-8 School, Celebration (2 grants)
Congress Middle School, Boynton Beach
Deerwood Elementary School, Orlando
Doctors Charter School, Miami Shores
Enterprise Elementary School, Cocoa
Fuguitt Elementary, Largo
GKE/Sabal Palm Elementary School, North Miami Beach
Gove Elementary, Belle Glade
Horizon Middle School, Kissimmee
Jacksonville Country Day School, Jacksonville
Jitta Bug Learning Center, North Miami
Jose Marti MAST School, Hialeah
Lecanto Primary School, Lecanto
Lindsay Hopkins Technical College, Miami
Middleton High School, Tampa
Naples Park Elementary School, Naples
Northbay Haven Charter School, Panama City
Palmetto Elementary School, Pinecrest
Palmetto Ridge High School, Naples
Parkway Middle School, Lauderhill
St. Teresa School, Titusville
Santa Fe Little School, Gainesville
Sea Park Elementary, Satellite Beach
Seminole Middle School, Plantation
TERRA Environmental Research Institute, Miami