Seeds for Education Background and History


The Wild Ones Seeds for Education Program (SFE) began in 1996 and was named in honor of naturalist and Wild Ones inspirational leader Lorrie Otto. The program encourages Wild Ones members to help children learn about the natural world.

Wild Ones supports community efforts to establish or maintain natural areas, and work with local schools, scout groups, churches, libraries and other not-for-profit organizations to create butterfly gardens, rainwater gardens, or other outdoor learning projects.

The Wild Ones mission is to educate and share information about the benefits of natural landscaping using native species to promote biodiversity and environmentally sound practices and encourages members to interact with the community. As members see the results of their native landscaping in their yards, they begin to notice other areas in their communities where naturally landscaping could be beneficial. They also become aware of community efforts to help children learn about the natural world. Many members support these efforts.

In conjunction with the creation of the SFE Program, the Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Fund was established consisting of an endowment and an annual grant program. Interest from the endowment will eventually be used to increase grant funds available to SFE Grant applicants. In the meantime, the SFE Grant Program relies solely on donations from Wild Ones members, chapters and friends.

SFE Grant Recipients receive SFE cash awards ranging from $100 to $500. Funds are restricted to the purchase of native plants and seeds for the grant-award year. Successful projects may be eligible for discounts on seeds and plants from nursery partners.


Between 1997 and 2018, the Seeds for Education Grant Program received 762 applications and gave 253 grants to schools and other not-for-profit organizations. These applications cover all fifty states, Washington DC, and a few international organizations have applied from Canada and the Virgin Islands. 

You can see if a full list of SFE grant awards to see if one has been given in your area. If there has been, be sure to visit the site.