The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program
More Information:
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Next Generation
A Tapestry of Learning
SFE Success Stories

The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program gives small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, and other non-profit and not-for-profit places of learning in the United States with a site available for a stewardship project. Successful non-school applicants often are a partnership between a youth group (scouts, 4-H, etc.) and a site owner. Libraries, goverment agencies and houses of worship are eligible subject to youth participation.

Established by Wild Ones in 1996, the Seeds for Education (SFE) Program honors the late Lorrie Otto, our "philosophical compass." Money for the grant program comes from donations from Wild Ones members, chapters and other benefactors.

Electronic Applications for SFE Awards

To be considered for the annual award, applicants must submit an electronic application by October 15th of the year prior to the grant year. Notification of awards will be made by February 15th of the grant year.

Right-click here to download grant application and instructions.

Right-click here to review a example of a completed grant application.

Project goals should focus on enhancement and development of an appreciation for nature using native plants. Projects must emphasize involvement of students and volunteers in all phases of development, and increase the educational value of the site. Creativity in design is encouraged, but must show complete and thoughtful planning. The use of, and teaching about, native plants and the native-plant community is mandatory, and the native plants must be appropriate to the local ecoregion and the site conditions (soil, water, sunlight). The Project Coordinator should be knowledgeable and committed.

Examples of appropriate projects are:

Larger-scale projects that may receive funding include:

Cash awards range from $100 to $500. Funds are restricted to the purchase of native plants and seed for the grant-award year. Successful projects are eligible for discounts on seeds and plants from SFE Nursery Partners.

Recipients for the yearly awards will be chosen by the Seeds for Education judges, a volunteer panel of educators and naturalists. A listing of successful grant recipients from our SFE program from past yearsis available here.

SFE Nursery partners

  • Each year, nursery partners supply seeds, plants, and advice to grant recipients in their areas.
  • By participating in the Wild Ones SFE program, our nursery partners demonstrate their commitment to the growth of natural landscaping. Many also advertise in the Journal. We thank them for their support!
  • Grant recipients are encouraged to contact the nursery partners for seeds and plant materials. Using native plants and seeds that originated as close as possible to the project site will help ensure success. To see the Wild Ones Guidelines for selecting native plants go to the Local Ecotype Guidelines page. To see what local ecoregion is closest to you go to map.

    Each grant recipient also received a copy of the Wild Ones video A Tapestry of Learning: Creating School Natural Areas to use in future development efforts. To purchase a additional copies of this video go to store.

    When the grant requirements are met, which includes a yearend report, each recipient will receive a Wild Ones yard sign. To see what this sign looks like and to purchase additional signs go to store.

    We encourage Wild Ones members and others interested in environmental education to learn more about the SFE projects in their communities and to support them in any way possible.

    To donate or become a nursery partner

    If you wish to support the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program with a contribution, send it to the Wild Ones SFE, PO Box 1274, Appleton, Wisconsin 54912. Please mark donations clearly with "Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program" or just "SFE." Or click here to donate online.

    The Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program is a donor-funded grant program, administered without remuneration by Wild Ones National as pledge to our mission. Only through donations are we able to provide grants to schools, churches, and other not-for-profit organizations to develoop outdoor learning centers using native plants in a natural landscape. To help us keep this grant program viable, donate today.

    If you are a native plant nursery or propagator and wish to become a Nursery Partner, please contact the program coordinator through the Wild Ones office:

    Past nursery partners and their specialties

    Click here for list of past nursery partners and their specialties (PDF file).

    Every school needs a nature trail and every person adult or young needs a bit of wilderness if wonder, reverence and awe are to be cultivated. William O. Douglas, former Justice of the Supreme Court.