Pollinator Habitat Grants for 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. Many species of wild bees are in decline. The rusty-patch bumblebee, a once common and widespread species, has been declared “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act, and the iconic monarch butterfly is now a candidate for listing.

To increase habitat for insect pollinators and monarch butterflies, we’re working with educators and youth in high school agriculture programs.

Project overview

Pollinator Habitat Grant Opportunity for Educators

Cash grants and plant materials available to high school educators in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Grant amount: $1,000 paid to a school district or FFA chapter

Deadline to apply: January 22, 2021

Awards announced: February 1, 2021

Schools receive seedlings: late March/early April

Schools transplant plugs: May or June

Final report due: September

Clinton Ffa 1
Clinton FFA member, Mick Mulloly plants a native wildflower on a Wisconsin farm.

Are you a high school educator looking for a hands-on pollinator habitat project for your students? Sand County Foundation seeks your proposal to involve students in growing native forbs (wildflowers) in a school greenhouse and planting them to create habitat in an agricultural setting. Teachers involved with FFA are especially welcome to apply.

This competitive grant program strives to increase the diversity of native forbs within an agricultural landscape for the benefit of native bees, honeybees, and monarch butterflies. Applicants must secure a suitable site for transplanting. Ideally, you will team up with a farmer or other private property such as an agricultural or rural electric co-op. School properties can be considered if dedicated to agricultural purposes. In all cases, proper site preparation prior to transplanting will be key to a successful outcome.

Successful applicants will receive 640 tiny seedlings of five native forb species in late March or early April. Students will grow out these plants in a school greenhouse or other suitable indoor area, transplant them onto an appropriate site in late May or June, and maintain and monitor the plants through the summer. Teachers will receive a training webinar, remote consultation from a private native plant nursery, and a $1,000 cash award paid to your school district or FFA chapter.

This opportunity is made possible by Sand County Foundation with financial support from Enel Green Power North America, Inc. and Syngenta.

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.


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