Metro area schools encouraged to apply for a grant to create monarch gardens at their location, contribute to a statewide initiative to ensure habitat for pollinators
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, in partnership with Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma Monarch and Pollinator Collaborative, and National Wildlife Federation, invites Oklahoma City metro area schools, Kindergarten through 12th grade, to apply for the OKC Living Classroom Grant Program and help increase habitat for monarchs and other pollinators by creating gardens at their schools. These gardens will include monarch host and nectar plants to provide a food source for monarchs along an essential part of their migration pathway that funnels through Oklahoma.
Monarch butterflies and similar pollinators are in trouble and need our help. In the last 20 years, the monarch butterfly population has dropped by over 80 percent. The main problem afflicting monarchs is habitat loss throughout their migration and breeding range. Migrating monarchs travel through Oklahoma in the spring and fall as they make their way between central Mexico and southern Canada. Thus, creating and protecting monarch habitat in Oklahoma is critical for this iconic butterfly’s survival.
“Creating a monarch garden is a unique, hands-on way for teachers to introduce their students to these valuable pollinators,” said Dr. Rebecca Snyder, OKC Zoo’s director of conservation and science. “We hope this program inspires the next generation of Oklahomans to care about and help conserve pollinators and native habitat not only at their schools but also in their communities, neighborhoods, and own backyards.”
Now through Thursday, April 1, 2021, all public, private, and charter K-12 schools in Oklahoma City, Edmond, Yukon, Mustang, Moore, Midwest City, Del City, Norman, Bethany, Piedmont, Deer Creek, Choctaw, and Warr Acres, are eligible to apply for the OKC Living Classroom Grant Program. A maximum of five grants will be awarded by Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Recipient schools will receive amounts up to $1,500 to purchase garden supplies. Plus, teachers from each location will receive training on how to incorporate their new gardens and program-related curriculum into their classes. Since 2018, 13 OKC Living Classroom grants have been awarded to local schools.
“Teaching educators about the monarch butterfly is a direct path of wider engagement about this incredible creature,” said Lily Peppers, director of education for Myriad Botanical Gardens. “Watching teachers be amazed by the new things they learn about monarchs is inspiring. Taking the information provided by this program back to their students helps foster an appreciation for monarch butterflies and nature as a whole.”
Apply today at okczoo.com.