School Garden Grants

Thank you to all who applied for this year’s school garden grant. We will notify everyone of the status of their application by Friday, October 20, 2017. We kindly ask you do not email us to check on the status of you application prior to this date. 

We’re awarding $25,000 in grants to grow healthy, happy, nature-connected kids!

School gardens provide an exciting context for cross-disciplinary learning and a wonderful opportunity to engage students in hands-on activities, project-based learning, and citizen science. Kids benefit from gardens in academic, physical, emotional, social, and behavioral ways. We are excited to support teachers’ efforts to engage kids in outdoor learning and all its benefits!

We will award 20 grants to teachers within the United States who strive to take the classroom outside, reconnect students with the natural world, and teach them valuable concepts and skills that integrate across all subjects. In partnership with our amazing sponsor, Alaska Fertilizer, we’re thrilled to support 20 teachers with a $500-$2,000 grant, gardening supplies, and BirdSleuth’s Habitat Connections kit. Funds can support a new garden or the revitalization of an existing one. In addition to funding food/veggie gardens, preference will be given to bird, pollinator, native habitat, rain, and other natural projects.

Application Process & Eligibility

The application is open to all K-12 schools, public and private, within the United States. Homeschool families, daycare facilities, and informal education settings such as nature centers and museums are not eligible. We cannot support U.S. territories at this time. The online application process opens August 21, 2017 and will close October 8, 2017 at 11:59pm ET. Email with any questions.

Watch a recording of our free webinar “Starting a School Garden for Birds.” We spent part of the webinar discussing the garden grant application.

Grant Application Questions

For those of you looking to prepare for the application, below are the questions. Review our Spring 2016 Garden Grant Winners for inspiration!

  1. Please tell us what you’d like to do to support the building or revitalization of your school garden. Describe in detail what you’d like to accomplish.
  2. Where is/will the garden be located? When do you anticipate beginning your project and over what time frame do you think you will implement it?
  3. Who will participate in the construction of your garden? Who will have access to the garden upon completion?
  4. How do you plan to integrate gardening for birds or habitat creation/improvements? Please give us some details about your plans.
  5. What learning/educational outcomes do you hope for?
  6. How much funding are you requesting and how will you use the funding (plants, supplies, curriculum, seed, professional development, etc.)? Your chances of receiving an award will be higher if you are specific with your budget. Grants range from $500-$2,000. You may not receive the amount you request. Grants will be based on need and impact.

Grant Details & Timeline

Each school selected will receive a BirdSleuth Habitat Connections kit, gardening supplies from Alaska Fertilizer, and $500-$2,000 depending on the school’s needs and overall funding requests.

  • Application window: August 21-October 8, 2017.
  • All winners notified by October 20, 2017.
  • BirdSleuth Habitat Connections kit will be sent to winners immediately.
  • Selected winners must attend a 1.5 hour online training either November 1 at 7pm ET or November 2 at 8pm ET. After the training, 75% of the allocated funds will be provided.
  • Between November and June, the winning schools must implement their proposed garden plan and the kit lessons.
  • A final report is required no later than July 1, 2018 from each school. This final report will consist of a brief survey and sharing the school’s progress on the BirdSleuth Action Map. Upon submission of the final report, each school will receive the remaining 25% of the funds to support continuation of the project.

About Alaska FertilizerAlaska_Logo-01

Alaska Fertilizer produces fish emulsion fertilizers, made from by-products of the fishing industry. High in organic matter, these fertilizers make use of otherwise wasted nutrients. These fertilizers are useful on all types of plants, easy to use, difficult to over-apply, harmless, and organic – making them ideal for school use!



    •  by  BirdSleuth

      Hi Kelly, it depends on the age group and your educational interaction with the kids. Part of the grant is to have students participate in our Habitat Connections curriculum. Students need to at least be kindergarten age for this. If you can commit to this, then yes you can apply.

  1.  by  Susan Morioka Bertram

    I assume the final report is due July 2018? It says 2017 – or is this another type of report?

  2.  by  Christina

    We are a childcare center (infant through pre-k) with a large afterschool program and summer camp for children age kindergarten through age 12. Are we eligible?

    •  by  BirdSleuth

      Hi Christina. It sounds like you would not qualify for the grant. Feel free to email us with more details about your organization if you have questions.

  3.  by  submitted the application, however it did not allow me to finish. Is there a way to check if you received all of our information?

    Started to answer questions and was not finished. Is there a way to check whether or not our application was received in its entirety?

    •  by  BirdSleuth

      Hi Denise, I just sent you an email about your application.

  4.  by  submitted the application, however it did not allow me to finish. Is there a way to check if you received all of our information?

    Thank you I resubmitted, looking forward to hearing from someone.

  5.  by  Anna Carson

    I am the garden coordinator for our school district and a regular substitute teacher. Do I qualify to submit the application even though I am not a staffed position within our school?

  6.  by  Shea Watkins

    I teach preschool at a PreK-8th grade public school. We are a full day preschool. Would I be able to apply for the grant, or does a K-8th teacher need to apply? Thanks!

    •  by  BirdSleuth

      Hi Shea. Part of the garden grant is completing the Habitat Connections curriculum. If you can partner with a teacher that works with (ideally) 3-8th grade students, then you can apply for your school. If you have further questions please email us at

  7.  by  Megan

    I teach 1st grade at a Spanish dual immersion school. Is the curriculum we are required to complete for this grant available in Spanish?

    •  by  BirdSleuth

      Hi Megan, if you are selected we may be able to provide an alternative curriculum. Please indicate this in your application. If you have any questions, email us at

  8.  by  Carolyn Wade

    good morning

    I was completing the application and accidentally left the page – is there a way I can complete the application?


  9.  by  Sarah Taylor

    Hi, while attempting to save an application in progress, it appears it may have been submitted accidentally (status incomplete). Is there a way to re-open a saved application that was not complete? I want to be sure it was not accidentally submitted…is there a way to check? Thanks!

  10.  by  Chuck Davidson

    What a wonderful forward thinking grant program. This is the kind of experience a child will remember for a lifetime and it passes itself on. Good work Cornell!

  11.  by  Yong

    I am a parent of an elemetary school student, and his school would benefit greatly from this. Can I apply on their behalf? Thank you!

  12.  by  Lynn

    Will you post a list of the 2017 winners? I have not heard anything on the status of my application and would like to know if we just missed a notification.

    •  by  BirdSleuth

      We will email all applicants this week with their application status. All winners will receive an email and be called to ensure they don’t miss the notification.

    •  by  BirdSleuth

      Yes we do! I would recommend you sign up for our eNews and follow us on social media to stay up to date of when the grants will be open.

  13.  by  Gisa Seeholzer

    Can Community Gardens with Elementary Aged Child Programs apply for this grant? We support the Bluebird Restoration Project and have had great success over the past three seasons. Children who enter the Gardening Program spend a good deal of time learning about the impact of pollinators especially birds.

    •  by  BirdSleuth

      Hi Gisa, at this moment we would ask that you partner with a specific school to be considered for the grant. Please check back this summer as more details are announced for the 2018-2019 grant season.

  14.  by  Rosalina Alvarado

    Hi from PR ! is PR elegible for this grant for the next year 2018 ?

    •  by  BirdSleuth

      We are currently working with our sponsors to see if we can offer this grant again. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or throug our monthly newsletter to be notified if and when the grant becomes available.

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