Reach out to your community to get materials when making your Schoolyard Habitats® project. You might be able to apply for a grant to fund your project. Another type of support is called an in-kind donation, when you receive materials directly instead of money.
Since Schoolyard Habitats projects accomplish so many goals, they often are eligible for many types of grants. Consider this: a local watershed protection organization may like to support plantings of native species, while a violence prevention agency may award the work being done to build a sense of community through the project; a private foundation or business focused on improving science education may fund curriculum purchases or Schoolyard Habitats educator trainings, while a regional environmental group may fund your efforts to attract pollinators!
Potential Donors and Volunteers
- School PTA/PTO
- Endowment funds
- School board of education
- Garden clubs
- Bureau of Land Management
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- National Park Service
- Soil Conservation Service (Soil & Water Conservation Districts)
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- USDA Forest Service
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- State Departments of Education, Fish & Game, Forestry, Natural Resources or Parks and Recreation
- City or County Councils
- Cooperative Extension Service and Master Gardeners
- Nature Centers
- Non-profit Organizations such as 4-H, Audubon, Boy and Girl Scouts, Lions, Kiwanis, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, The Wildlife Society, Future Farmers of America and of course, National Wildlife Federation
- Businesses such as banks, “chain" stores (for example: Target or Home Depot), Chamber of Commerce, grocery stores, hardware stores, landscaping companies, nurseries, growers and bird feeding stores.
- NWF's Habitat Stewards® (volunteers who have 40 hours of training on planning and implementing habitat projects)
- Volunteer clearinghouses (maintained by nonprofits in many towns and cities)
Tips on Getting Donations
- Place a wish list in the school newsletter or on a prominent bulletin board. Decorate a small tree in the school lobby with wish ornaments (papers on string, labeled with project needs); as people enter the school and see something they are able to donate, they remove the paper and return with their donation!
- Identify local stores which sell various needed items (child-sized garden tools, seeds, etc.). Write letters and/or have students write letters describing the project and requesting donations of a few items to help it get off the ground. Be clear about the value of the project, and where and how they will be publicly thanked if they donate - businesses often enjoy the public attention that acts of local good will bring.
- Inspire a group of volunteers to take on a project such as a bench or plant project.