Seedlings for schools program hits major growth spurt

State College, Pa. — More than a thousand schools across
Pennsylvania this spring received seedlings through the
Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Seedlings for Schools
program.

Most of the
seedlings, which shipped from the commission’s Howard Nursery in
Centre County in time for Arbor Day, were part of the Seedlings for
Your Class component of the program aimed primarily at third grade
students. Each class or grade level received enough silky dogwood
or white pine seedlings for each student to take one
home.

In addition,
explained Janet Nyce, President of the Wildlife For Everyone
Endowment Foundation, “The seedlings come with an education package
for the teacher. The teacher gets to teach a whole program around
trees, environment and the importance of planting trees in your own
local community.”

The Wildlife For
Everyone Endowment Foundation, Waste Management Inc., Mealey’s
Furniture, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Partners for
Wildlife, and Pheasants Forever Chapter 603 provided major support
to the program.

“There is no charge
to schools participating in this project, as the seedlings are
provided by the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery,” said Commission
Executive Director Carl Roe. “The cost of shipping seedlings is
covered through the generous donations” from the Wildlife For
Everyone Endowment Foundation and other partners.

In addition, noted
Cliff Guindon, Superintendent of the Nursery, “The Wildlife For
Everyone Endowment Foundation has been an integral part from day
one three years ago, actually from pre-day one, helping to get
things lined up to help it go.”

Nyce said, “We were
very excited to get involved because all of us, when we were in
elementary school many years ago, used to get seedlings to take
home and plant in our yards. And, that left an impression on all of
us.”

While that previous
school-seedling program eventually came to an end, the current
program grew from a handful of schools participating the first year
to more than 500 last years to more than a thousand this
year.

Some of the
seedlings also were shipped for the Seedlings to Develop Habitats
component of the program, which is aimed at middle and high school
students interested in planting them on school or community
grounds, or along a stream corridor, to improve habitat; as a tree
nursery; or in an environmental area.

Seedlings were
shipped in bundles of 25. According to Guindon, some days two full
UPS truckloads of bundles left the nursery.

“We send the
teachers anywhere from 50 to a couple hundred seedlings, and you
would think we sent them a pot of gold,” he said. “They’re that
enthused about this program.”

The Wildlife For
Everyone Endowment Foundation was established to provide permanent
private support for wildlife habitat enhancement, wildlife research
and education, land preservation, and for the establishment of a
Wildlife Education and Research Center in State College. The
Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit Foundation. More information
about the Foundation’s projects can be found at www.wildlifeforeveryone.org.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Jeff Mulhollem

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