The Game Commission is now accepting orders under its Seedlings For Schools Program which provides free tree seedlings to classrooms so students can plant them as part of projects to improve wildlife habitat. Orders will be accepted through March 30.
In years past, “Seedlings for Your Class” was intended primarily for pre-K and elementary students, but this year it’s been extended to middle and high school students.
There is no charge to schools that participate in this program. The seedlings are provided by the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery and shipping costs are offset by the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation.
Seedlings for Your Class provides a classroom, grade level or entire school with enough seedlings so each student can take one home to plant.
Traditional favorites white spruce and silky dogwood are available again this year. Four other species also are being offered: grey-stemmed dogwood, American sweet crabapple, American highbush cranberry and our beloved state tree, eastern hemlock.
Seedlings come in bundles of 25, and depending on spring weather, will be shipped directly to schools by UPS from April 2 to 4 and April 9 to 11. The nursery does not ship on Thursdays or Fridays so seedlings should not arrive on weekends when no one is at school to receive them.
Once seedlings do arrive, it is important to moisten the roots immediately and plant them as soon as possible, said Brian Stone, manager of the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery.
Seedlings should be handed out to students with their roots in plastic bags with moist shredded newspaper, or with the seedlings planted in juice or milk cartons for transplanting at home, Stone said.
Individuals and groups wishing to donate to the program can send checks to the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Fund, which maintains the account for donations. Be sure to indicate the donation is for the Game Commission’s “Seedlings for Schools” program. Donations can be mailed to the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation, 341 Science Park Road, State College, PA 16803.