Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Grants Galore!

The Healthy Classrooms Foundation

The Healthy Classrooms Foundation is excited to announce that our 3rd annual Grant application cycle is now open. Here is your opportunity to bring a healthy initiative to a classroom and help improve the lives of children in communities throughout Wisconsin.Please visit and click on "Apply for Grant" to submit your application electronically. Applications are accepted now until May 31st, 2011.Questions? Please visit our Grant Application Q&A section on the HCF Forum:

Welch's Harvest Grant

Now in our second year partnership with Scholastic and the National Gardening Association, Welch's will support school garden programs through Welch's Harvest Grants. We are pleased to invite you to submit an application for your opportunity to win a valuable garden for your school.
Entries will be judged by experts at the National Gardening Association and two schools in every state will be selected to receive a Welch's Harvest Grant. Winning schools will receive a customized indoor or outdoor garden package filled with a variety of tools, seeds, educational materials, and more. Five (5) $1,000 gardens and ninety-five (95) $500 gardens will be awarded. Deadline for submission is February 11, 2011, so we encourage you to start working on your grant application today.

Visit the Welch's grant website at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seed Saving

Most schools in Wisconsin follow a traditional September to June calendar. Many of the food crops planted in gardens ripen and become ready to eat during the summer months, when students are not in school. Seeds, however, mature in late August through the fall, allowing for a curriculum to be in place when the school year resumes.

With this change in perspective, the garden is not "dead" in the fall, but full of seeds and learning opportunities that can be extended throughout the winter as well.

Harvesting seeds is done in the fall, but processing seeds, making seed packages, and packaging seeds can be done in the cold winter months when access to the garden is often limited.

So do some research on saving seeds and seed swapping with other schools! A simple google search will bring up a plethora of results! Happy saving!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Activity: Seed Tape

Here's a simple and fun way to plant seeds in your youth garden!

1) Paper towels cut into strips 3in x 12in
2)White glue
3) Ruler
4) Pencil
5) Small seeds (ex. lettuce, carrot)

1. With a ruler and a pencil draw small dots every one inch in the center of the paper towel strip.

2. Place a drop of glue in the center of the dots.

3. Place one seed on each drop of glue

4. Allow glue to dry completely before moving or storing strips.

5. Plant seed tapes 1/2 inch deep in garden. And wait for them to grow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Garden Based Learning Videos

Life Lab Science Program, in cooperation with the California School Garden Network, has created a Garden-Based Learning Video web site.

It is a collection of web-based videos related to garden-based learning, school gardens, and garden-based nutrition.It features School Garden Instructors teaching in their gardens, an effective outdoor instruction handout and much more.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Seed Riddle

Want to begin a lesson on seeds and don’t know where to begin? Why not get your student’s creative juices flowing with a seed riddle to introduce the lessons they are about to learn!

I appear dead before I am alive
Although often quite small, inside my skin a tree can live
I can survive hundreds of years without food or water
I can be as small as dust or as large as a football
Humans and animals eat me
I can fly, swim and hitch a ride
I can survive freezing, fires and intense droughts
What am I?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Save the Date: Garden Webinar

On February 8, 2011, there will be a web seminar for educators on "Designing, Planning, and Creating Schoolyard Gardens."

While pollinators may come in small sizes, they play a large and often undervalued role in the production of the food we eat, the health of flowering plants, and the future of wildlife. A decline in the numbers and health of pollinators over the last several years poses a significant threat to biodiversity, global food webs, and human health, according to scientists.

PollinatorLIVE is continuing last year’s distance learning adventure that focused on monarch butterflies. This year’s FREE distance learning adventure will feature pollinators, citizen science projects, and gardening. In addition, PollinatorLIVE will keep you up-to-date with the latest about monarch butterflies. Join PollinatorLIVE for a series of live interactive web casts, web seminars, and satellite field trips about pollinators, gardening, and conservation. The web site features resources that meet National Science Education Standards for the classroom.

PollinatorLIVE is geared toward students in grades 4 – 8, but there are lesson plans and activities of interest to teachers and students in earlier and later grade levels.

PollinatorLIVE is offering web seminars for teachers and administrators through the National Science Teachers Association.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Social Studies and Gardens

Gardens are truly a multi-disciplinary project. If you're looking for some new ways to incorporate your school garden into social studies, visit the Kids Gardening website to find some great lesson plans and activities.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Plant the SEED of Knowledge

Here are some simple and fun activities relating to seeds for various grade levels.

Place seeds such as sunflowers, beans or carrots on a table. Place the empty seed package on the table and ask the students to guess which seed belongs in each package.

Have students arrange seeds in order from smallest to largest.

Describe ways in which plants are important to other living things, and the effects of human activities on plants.

Design seed packages for seed saving. Graph and chart seed-saving results.

Formulate a survey on what type of seeds your school would like to save.

Have students to do a search on the Internet for mythology and seeds and find various cultures that include seeds as an important symbol in their mythology.

Have students create their own myth using the seed as the central symbol in their story. Publish the students’ stories in a class collection of seed mythology.

Do a research project on an ancient civilization and the types of crops they planted based on theirneeds and environmental conditions. Investigate flooding of the Nile in ancient civilizations and the impact on their planting practices.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January School Garden Ideas

National Hobby Month: Why not start a new hobby, such as gardening!

National Soup Month: Plan for a vegetable soup garden;

National Staying Healthy Month: Eating healthy foods and getting lots of exercise will help you stay healthy during January and the months to come!

Jan. 4: Trivia Day: Create a garden themed trivia quiz to keep your students on their toes for springtime gardening! Here are some great gardening facts:

Jan. 5: Bean Day:
Did you know…most beans contain at least 20% protein and are high in carbohydrates, which provides long lasting energy.

Jan. 11: Cigarettes Are Hazardous To Your Health Day: Teach about the hazards that smoking cigarettes pose. Try to make an impact on the health concerns associated with them.

Jan. 19: National Popcorn Day: Start a microfarm in your class room and grow popcorn seedlings. The seedlings actually taste like popcorn!

Jan. 29: National Seed Swap Day: Talk with other schools to swap ideas, activities, and seeds!

Jan. 31: Inspire Your Heart With Art Day: Try some veggie art with your students. Read about a great art project in one of our earlier blog posts: