Giving people a chance to experience the thrill of bonding with nature
Do you remember the thrill you felt the first time you sowed a seed and watched it sprout and grow, and the connection you felt with “your” plant? Our Seeds2Share program was created to give people in our community a chance to experience that thrill and that bond with nature. It was designed to further our mission by turning our neighbors into nurturers of nature, and was inspired by the fact that the two fastest growing demographics in our village of Miami Shores are young people and the elderly. Our Seeds2Share kits instill in our young people a connection with nature and with community, and a love of making plants grow, and they give older residents the ability to grow plants that beautify our community despite infirmity or having downsized to a condo or apartment without a garden.
With assistance from a grant from the Miami Shores Community Alliance, matching funds from other donors, and the help of numerous volunteers, we developed a kit that includes a mini-greenhouse, information on the native pollinator seeds in the kit, a sheet of butterfly stickers for decorating the kits (making them more likely to be saved and reused instead of sent to the landfill), six coconut coir pellets, and a packet containing seeds of Tropical or Scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea, native from South Carolina to Florida, and west to Texas). These seeds germinate quickly and easily; the flowers attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds; and the seeds feed birds like Painted buntings. They are also drought-tolerant and grow well in sun or light shade.
Once we developed the kit, we took our show on the road, so to speak, with germination workshops at Girl Scout troops and numerous schools in our community as well as our local library. Sadly, the pandemic put a halt to these workshops, but we were still able to get the kits out into the community by distributing them through parent networks.
This is what parents had to say:
“This is going to be so much fun!”
“I am so excited to be learning how to germinate seeds with Matteo!”
“The kids were jumping with joy when we saw [that the seeds had sprouted today]!”
“So happy to finally get started. All the moms were so appreciative of the seed kits. Many of them said they loved gardening growing up and haven’t made time for it with kids so I think they are getting inspired again. And super excited to do it with their kids.”
“Everyone is over the moon to start on this with the kids.”
“I just love this program!” Melissa, 4th grade teacher, Cushman school