Wildflower gardens soon will be popping up across Florida schoolyards, thanks to the Florida Wildflower Foundation’s Seedlings for Schools grant program. Wildflower shipments now are being received by 49 schoolteachers who recently were awarded grants.
This year’s gardens will range from in-ground installations in school courtyards to wooden grow boxes and larger dedicated garden areas that include vegetables and other native plants. Teachers are excited about starting their gardens, planning to use them for an assortment of lessons, including wildflower/insect ecology and interactions. As key elements of urban habitat corridors, school wildflower gardens also will provide important connectivity between parks and neighborhood landscapes, helping pollinators to move and thrive.
Volunteers lend a hand in garden success
Many of these gardens’ success relies on volunteers – from parents, Master Gardeners and garden clubs to Florida Native Plant Society members. These community volunteers strive to make outdoor gardens a permanent part of the schoolyard where students can discover nature-based learning.
The Florida Wildflower Foundation program is in its sixth year providing small wildflower plants and adaptable curriculum activities for the classroom. Leavenworth’s tickseed (Coreopsis leavenworthii), Narrowleaf yellowtops (Flaveria linearis), Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and Frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) were among the species included in this fall’s shipment from Green Seasons native nursery in Parrish.
“We are happy to see these healthy, beautiful wildflowers on their way to waiting schools, where some students are being given their first chance to experience hands-on gardening and the nurturing of plants,” said Claudia Larsen, Seedlings for Schools grant administrator. “Teachers report that outdoor garden involvement not only improves understanding of science, but also builds students’ confidence, communication skills, and the ability to work with others.”
This year’s awards included 22 2021 grants, along with 27 2020 grants, which were postponed when COVID-19 forced school closures across Florida.
Start planning now for 2022 grants
The next grant cycle will begin in March 2022 with online applications accepted through June. More than 500 gardens have been established since the program began as Seeds for Schools in 2009.
Visit Seedlings for Schools to learn more and see photos of established gardens.
2021 Seedlings for Schools Grant Awards
|Brevard||Palm Bay Elementary|
|Brevard||R.L.Stevenson School of the Arts|
|Brevard||Bilingual Montessori Academy|
|Broward||Mirror Lake Elementary|
|Broward||Sheridan Hills Elementary|
|Broward||South Plantation High School|
|Broward||Parkway Christian School (Middle)|
|Duval||Crown Point Elementary|
|Duval||Abess Park Elementary|
|Duval||The Foundation Academy|
|Hillsborough||Southshore Montessori School|
|Hillsborough||Lutz Preparatory School|
|Hillsborough||Hunters Green Elementary|
|Indian River||Pelican Island Elementary|
|Lake||Round Lake Elementary|
|Lee||Lehigh Elementary School|
|Leon||Sabal Palm Elementary|
|Martin||J.D. Parker Elementary|
|Miami-Dade||Advanced Achievers Academy|
|Nassau||Fernandina Beach Middle School|
|Orange||Arbor Ridge K-8 School|
|Orange||Millennia Gardens Elementary|
|Orange||UCP East Orange Elementary School|
|Osceola||Enchanted Garden Day Care VPK|
|Osceola||Neptune Middle School|
|Palm Beach||Glades Central High School|
|Palm Beach||Cocoplum Nature School|
|Palm Beach||Gove Elementary|
|Palm Beach||Connections Education Center|
|Palm Beach||Boca Raton Elementary|
|Palm Beach||Crossroads Academy|
|Palm Beach||Greenacres Elementary|
|Palm Beach||John I Leonard|
|Pinellas||Seminole High School|
|Sarasota||Agape Christian School|
|Seminole||Goldsboro E Elementary|
|Walton||Mossy Head School (elementary)|