Insect pollinators are essential for food production and ecological diversity, but their populations are at risk. Beekeepers are losing large numbers of honey bee colonies. Populations of many wild bee species are in decline. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the rusty-patch bumblebee and the monarch butterfly now warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Sand County Foundation believes we can reverse these trends with help from youth interested in agricultural and environmental sciences. Through our Pollinator Habitat Grant program, we are supporting high school teachers and students to create habitat within a "working landscape" - the lands used for farming, energy production, or other purposes where room can be made for wildlife.
$1,000 cash grants and plant materials are available to high school educators in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Are you a high school educator looking for a hands-on pollinator habitat project for your students? Sand County Foundation invites your proposal to engage your students in growing native forbs (wildflower plants) indoors and planting them on an appropriately prepared site. Teachers involved with agricultural and/or environmental education are especially welcome to apply.
This competitive grant program strives to increase the diversity of native forbs (wildflowers) within a working landscape for the benefit of native bees, honeybees, and monarch butterflies. We encourage applicants to team up with a farmer or other land manager in your community. School properties can be offered if dedicated to agricultural or ecological restoration purposes. In all cases, proper site preparation prior to seeding and transplanting will be key to a successful outcome.
Successful applicants will receive native forb seeds to germinate in late winter and supplemental live forb seedlings in early spring. Students will grow these plants in a school greenhouse or other suitable indoor space, transplant them onto an appropriate site, and maintain and monitor the site. Projects also have the option to receive a seed mix to hand-sow in spring or fall. Teachers may request individual consultation as they carry out their projects. A $1,000 cash award will be paid to the school district or FFA chapter.
This opportunity is made possible with financial support from Syngenta, Enel North America, Monarch Joint Venture, and U.S. Forest Service International Programs.
Together with the Earth Partnership at the University of Wisconsin, we developed a Pollinator Habitat Curriculum Guide that is available via free download. The guide provides high school educators with a set of activities appropriate for establishing, managing, and monitoring prairie habitat suitable for monarch butterflies, other insect pollinators and grassland birds. The guide aligns with Common Core and Next Generation Science standards. Click here for more information.