Wild Ones   Seeds for Education - Next Generation  
Wild Ones Next Generation LogoThe Wild Ones Seeds for Education Program (SFE) began in 1996 and was named in honor of naturalist and Wild Ones inspirational leader Lorrie Otto, a pioneer in the natural landscaping movement in the United States. The program is a coordinated effort between national Wild Ones and its chapters and encompasses all of Wild Ones' efforts associated with educational institutions.

Nationally Wild Ones provides direction for local chapter SFE programs, acts as a clearinghouse for questions and concerns about SFE, provides materials for Wild Ones Chapters and others to use, and administers the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program grant program.

Locally each Wild Ones chapter SFE Committee organizes and supports community efforts to establish natural areas of learning and works with local schools to make them aware of the grant program.

The Wild Ones mission to educate and share information about the benefits of natural landscaping using native species to promote biodiversity and environmentally sound practices is the perfect springboard for our members to interact with the community. As Wild Ones chapters and members see the results of their native landscaping, they start to look around the community and begin to see areas that should be naturally landscaped. Schools are one of the best areas to promote natural landscaping. Considering the costs involved not only in materials, but also labor, why should they mow acres and acres of grass when they could have a school natural area to use as an outdoor learning center?

In some sense environmental education is the very basis of an education. The most basic definition of education is: "that taught by members of a culture to the next generation to allow that culture to continue." To be sustained, our culture is dependent on the Earth. If we cannot teach our children to live sustainably on this Earth, eventually our culture will disappear and our educational system will have failed us.

An important part of our Seeds for Education program is the continuing series of Next Generation articles in the Wild Ones Journal. Aimed at showing kids how to have fun with nature, these articles also appeal to adults. Follow the links below to read some of our most recent Next Generation articles:

Keeping a Journal
Want your kids to keep a nature journal? Let them watch as you write in your own journal. By Babette Kis

Wild About Beans
A fun experiment for kids. And if you're not a kid, it's OK — you can try it too. By Barbara Bray

Color Your Springtime Eggs with Colorful Dyes Made from Native Plants
Although many people today use store-bought, artificial dyes to color eggs, beautiful colors can be obtained from natural dyes. By Barbara Bray

Have You Listened to Your Pines Trees Lately?
Do you know how seeds get where they're going? By Barbara Bray

From Lawns to Sock Gardens: My, How Seeds Do Travel!
Do you know how seeds get where they're going? By Barbara Bray

It's the Little Things in Life
Big flashy things are always competing for their attention, but we can help make sure our children still notice the little things. By Barbara Bray

Bringing Up Monarch Baby
Collecting a monarch caterpillar and waiting for it to become a butterfly – and how to build a butterfly box. By Elaine Swanson

Establishing a state grass.
Kids get the ball rolling in Wisconsin. By Kim Lowman Vollmer

Playing in the Mud
In today’s world, kids grow up in a totally different and regrettably “antiseptic” atmosphere. What experiences can we give back to our children so they grow with a sense of the awesomeness of nature and its critical place in our lives, and yet provide for their safety? By Donald Dann

A Tapestry of Learning: Creating school natural areas.

Fourth Grade State Projects and Our Native Species Creative ways to inspire students to learn.

Measuring Mayapples Great example of a plant adapting to weather conditions.

Paper From the Prairie? The paper you create might contain bits of flowers, leaves, and even seeds.

American Painted Ladies Followup discussion on American painted lady larvae and butterflies.

Fluff & Fuzz Fuzzy things are enticing, so send your children around the house on a "fuzz hunt."

A Campsite Full of Opportunities A camping trip can be fun for the kids and be a learning experience.

Strange World A trip to the Sandhills in southeastern Georgia.

Fun Under a Log Can a log filled with squiggly bugs and slimy slugs be fun?

See also Kids and Education -- Outdoor Classrooms from the Iowa Living Roadway trust fund.

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Updated: Apr 19, 2011.