Pollinator garden program

On May 28, Jefferson-Morgan students plant seeds in the pollinator garden funded by EQT. (Photo courtesy of Karen Cox)

Through a $20,000 grant to the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation, the EQT Foundation supported the roll-out of the Pollinator Garden Program, targeting schools in Greene, Washington and parts of Allegheny Counties.

The Wildlife for Everyone Foundation raises funds for the Seedlings for Schools and new Pollinator Garden programs administered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Howard Nursery to school-age youth throughout the state at no charge.

“Over the last few years, with plant donations from teachers and the work of many students we have replanted the flower gardens,” said Karen Cox, 9th grade science teacher at Jefferson-Morgan. “Along the way my Environmental Science classes, with the help of the Greene County Retired Teachers Association grant in 2017, have planned and installed a small pond to add to the ambiance.”

This year the plants at Jefferson-Morgan are taking root and thriving. This spring, school used the donations from Howard Nursery in cooperation with the PA Game Commission’s Seedlings for Schools education and planting program to distribute trees to the community and

“We also planted pollinator shrubs like Ninebark, Buttonbush, and Common Elderberry on our campus,” Cox said. “The Pollinator packet seeds were planted by my high school Environmental Science class and Mrs.Cochran’s Middle School class.”

Cox said the goal is to provide an outdoor classroom anyone in the school can utilize. The school has provided working space by installing picnic tables and umbrellas. Cox said, come fall, she will host classes in the space.

“Our courtyard garden has been a work in progress and I am happy to say that it has really taken off this year, many of our last season transplants have survived and are beginning to thrive,” Cox said. “I am hoping that the addition of the natural pollinator favorites will add to the space and provide the basis for lessons on the importance of pollinators and natural habitat.”

Howard Nursery introduced the Pollinator Garden Program statewide on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“Our target metric was to have five schools participating in the Pollinator Garden Program this year,” said Ellen Rossi, EQT Foundation manager. “We were thrilled when nine schools requested the package.”

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.

Donations to the Seedlings for Schools or Pollinator Garden programs should be made to the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation indicating the donation intent and sent to the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation, 341 Science Park Road, Suite 103, State College, PA 16803.

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