Wednesday, June 26, 2019

2019 Seedlings for Schools Program Experiences Huge Response To New Pollinator Garden Option

In spring 2019, the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery introduced a new program for teachers in Pennsylvania-- mix of 25 native pollinator-friendly seedlings were packaged for teachers to order and plant a pollinator garden on their school premises, free of charge.
The response was huge and unexpected according to Brian Stone, manager of Howard Nursery. “We communicated that the pollinator garden bundles were available on a first-come, first-served basis, and by the end of the first day, we were at capacity!”
Sixty-seven schools throughout the state received pollinator garden bundles in this inaugural year.
“The declining pollinator problem is a critical environmental issue that is getting a lot of attention,” said Stone. “Pollinators are essential to the transference of pollen from one plant to another which ensures the continuance of crops we rely on for food.”
The Game Commission’s Howard Nursery administers the Seedlings for School program as well as the new Pollinator Garden program.
The Wildlife for Everyone Foundation raises funds to help subsidize these programs which are available at no cost to all students in Pennsylvania.
“Interest in constructing pollinator gardens has grown as individuals recognize the value in creating habitat for these pollinating insects and other animals,” adds Stone.
An additional benefit of the Pollinator Garden (and Seedlings for Schools) programs is the inclusion of a Teacher Resource Guide that includes information on the importance of trees and plants in our lives and their role in providing food and habitat for wildlife.
The addition of pollinator garden curriculum addresses the existing environmental problem, types of plants that attract various kinds of insects and how to construct an effective garden.
The Teacher Resource Guide contains activities with educational standard correlations and student sheets that are sent with the bundles and available online.
The goal of the Seedlings for Schools and Pollinator Garden programs is to offer youth hands-on educational opportunities that engage them with nature.
In addition to creating an awareness of the natural world, these experiences serve to instill in youth a newfound ownership of their environment and an appreciation for conservation practices that will impact their future actions.
The Wildlife for Everyone Foundation pursues grant opportunities and seeks private donations to raise money to ensure these programs continue.
To make a donation, visit the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation website or call the Foundation office at 814-238-8138.
Related Articles:
Pollinator/Native Plant Resources
There are lots of resources available to help property owners landscape with native plants, and now is the best time to start planning for Spring projects.  Here are just a few of the resources available--
-- Brandywine Conservancy: Forested Riparian Buffer Planting Guide
-- National Audubon: Native Plants Database
-- Pennsylvania Pollinator Protection Plan - Learn Why Pollinators Are At Risk In PA
You can also check with land trusts, watershed groups, PA Audubon and Trout Unlimited Chapters, county conservation districts or other groups near you to see how they can help.
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