Teachers statewide receive wildflowers for campus gardens

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
BrevardSabal Elementary
BrevardTropical Elementary
BrevardPalm Bay Elementary
BrevardEndeavour Elementary
BrevardR.L.Stevenson School of the Arts
BrevardBilingual Montessori Academy
BrowardMirror Lake Elementary
BrowardSheridan Hills Elementary
BrowardSouth Plantation High School
BrowardParkway Christian School (Middle)
ClayMontclair Academy
DuvalCrown Point Elementary
DuvalAbess Park Elementary
DuvalThe Foundation Academy
HillsboroughSouthshore Montessori School
HillsboroughLutz Preparatory School
HillsboroughChiles Elementary
HillsboroughHunters Green Elementary
Indian RiverPelican Island Elementary
LakeRound Lake Elementary
LeeLehigh Elementary School
LeonSabal Palm Elementary
MartinJ.D. Parker Elementary
MartinRiverside Montessori
Miami-DadeAdvanced Achievers Academy
NassauFernandina Beach Middle School
OrangeArbor Ridge K-8 School
OrangeMillennia Gardens Elementary
OrangeUCP East Orange Elementary School
OrangeLockhart Middle
OsceolaEnchanted Garden Day Care VPK
OsceolaNeptune Middle School
Palm BeachGlades Central High School
Palm BeachCocoplum Nature School
Palm BeachGove Elementary
Palm BeachConnections Education Center
Palm BeachBoca Raton Elementary
Palm BeachCrossroads Academy
Palm BeachGreenacres Elementary
Palm BeachJohn I Leonard
PinellasSeminole High School
SarasotaAshton Elementary
SarasotaNewGate Elementary
SarasotaCranberry Elementary
SarasotaAgape Christian School
SeminoleIdyllwilde Elementary
SeminoleGoldsboro E Elementary
VolusiaCreekside Middle
WaltonMossy Head School (elementary)