High School Pollinator Habitat Grants

pollinator habitat grant program for high schools

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.

Project overview

Highlights from 2021

Pollinator Habitat Grant Opportunity for High School Teachers

We annually offer $1,000 cash grants and plant materials to high school educators in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin (with anticipated growth in Illinois, Michigan and Texas).

This competitive grant program strives to increase the diversity of native forbs (wildflowers) within an agricultural or other working landscape for the benefit of native bees, honeybees, and monarch butterflies.

Clinton Ffa 1

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 receive native forb seeds to germinate in late winter, and supplemental live seedlings in early spring. Students grow these plants in a school greenhouse or other suitable indoor area, transplant them onto an appropriate site in late spring, and maintain and monitor the plants through the summer. Teachers receive a training webinar and remote consultation from Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries. A $1,000 cash award is paid to the school district or FFA chapter.

The application period for the 2021-22 school year has closed. We anticipate opening the next application period in September 2022 and announcing grant recipients in December.

This opportunity is made possible with financial support from Syngenta, Enel Green Power North America Inc., Monarch Joint Venture, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Iowa Corn, We Energies Foundation, and WPS Foundation.

Locations of past grant recipients

Pollinator Habitat Curriculum Guide

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.