35 schools win wildflower garden grants

Thirty-five schools in 17 counties have been awarded 2020 Seedlings for Schools (SFS) grants. The grants, provided by the Florida Wildflower Foundation with funds from the State Wildflower specialty license plate, give pre-K to high school teachers wildflower plants, personal gardening guidance and online teaching resources. Teachers are expected to receive plants in September, when schools are expected to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

School gardens vary from wood “grow” boxes to small in-ground garden sites outside classrooms, beside school vegetable gardens, or in nearby school courtyards. They provide many students’ first planting experiences as well as opportunities to witness plant life cycles and insect interactions while learning about Florida ecology.

Innovation outdoors

Additionally, the Foundation’s Wild About Wildflowers! Activity Guide has helped teachers use the gardens to achieve Florida State Standards in language arts, math and science. SFS Grant Administrator Claudia Larsen also emphasized that gardens create opportunities for social interaction between students and are sometimes therapeutic outlets.

Yellow wildflowers blooming in raised bed
A Seedlings for Schools garden at Clay Springs Elementary.

“Our past surveys show that teachers are continually finding innovative ways to meet their students’ educational needs and they are excited to provide outdoor hands-on opportunities,” Larsen said. “Thanks to parent volunteers, Master Gardeners, and members of the Florida Wildflower Foundation, Florida Native Plant Society and local garden clubs, these gardens are becoming a permanent part of each school and are maintained year-round.”

In order to qualify for Seedlings for Schools grants, teachers must have a dedicated garden area, provide garden photos, and complete an online survey about their grant experience.

“We hope Seedlings for Schools grant participation will instill of love of native Florida plants to students of all ages and inspire them to be environmental stewards of their future,” Larsen said.

2020 Seedlings for Schools Grant Awards

BayJ.R. Arnold High SchoolPanama City
BrevardSt. Teresa Catholic SchoolTitusville
BrevardR.L. Stevenson School of the ArtsMerritt Island
BrevardBilingual Montessori AcademyRockledge
BrowardSouth Plantation High SchoolPlantation
BrowardParkway Christian SchoolDavie
ClayMontclair AcademyOrange Park
DuvalThe Foundation AcademyJacksonville
HillsboroughWilliams Middle MagnetTampa
HillsboroughWarren Hope Dawson ElementaryRiverview
HillsboroughChiles ElementaryTampa
HillsboroughPierce Middle SchoolTampa
Indian RiverPelican Island ElementarySebastian
LakeRound Lake AcademyLeesburg
LakeImagine South Lake Charter SchoolClermont
MartinRiverside MontessoriStuart
Miami-DadeAdvanced Achievers AcademyFlorida City
OrangeUCP East Orange ElementaryOrlando
OrangeLockhart Middle SchoolOrlando
Palm BeachGove ElementaryBelle Glade
Palm BeachConnections Education AcademyWest Palm Beach
Palm BeachBoca Raton ElementaryBoca Raton
Palm BeachA.D. Henderson University SchoolDeerfield Beach
Palm BeachCrossroads AcademyBelle Glade
Palm BeachGreenacres ElementaryGreenacres
Palm BeachU.B. Kinsey/Palmview ElementaryWest Palm  Beach
PolkLewis Anna Woodbury ElementaryFort Meade
SarasotaAshton ElementarySarasota
SarasotaNewGate ElementarySarasota
SarasotaAgape Christian SchoolSarasota
SarasotaCranberry ElementaryNorth Port
SeminoleGoldsboro ElementarySanford
VolusiaCreekside Middle SchoolPort Orange
VolusiaR.J. Longstreet ElementaryDaytona Beach
WaltonMossy Head ElementaryMossy Head