Dear Network,

As we move into colder months and put our gardens to bed for winter, we can be inclined to think ahead to all the things we'll do in the garden in spring. But there are still so many months of garden fun ahead of us!

Bundling up and exploring the garden during these quieter months can give new perspectives on places that students have come to know and love. Observing animals using the garden's remnants for food and habitat, learning about what is happening under our feet during freezing months, or making garden art outside in the snow can all be ways to stay connected with the garden and with nature. There may even still be some seeds to find, collect, and save for next year's garden.

Winter in Wisconsin can also seem intimidatingly cold, especially for people who work with young learners. The classroom can become your winter garden by germinating seeds, growing herbs on the windowsill, or learning about the biology of storage crops.

Whether you and your students spend the cold months exploring the changing landscape or staying cozy in the classroom, we look forward to hearing about your winter garden learning adventures.

-Renata, Wisconsin School Garden Network Communications Director

P.S. - We want to hear from you. Tell Wisconsin's school garden community about your garden on our Facebook page or Twitter using the hashtag #wischoolgardens or send us an email.


Winter Garden Resources

Our searchable resource library has some great winter resources that go far beyond putting your garden to bed for the season. View resource »

Winter Gardening Activities for Kids

This list of suggestions from University of Vermont Extension is meant to spark ideas and inspire your creativity. The short and sweet descriptions are just enough to help you think about how these activities could fit with your own students. View resource »

Indoor Garden-based Activities for Winter

Even if you can’t get outside much during the cold season, there are plenty of garden-based activities that you can try out indoors. This resource  are five fun indoor options to try out with your students. View resource »

Winter Garden Art Activities

We all feel the itch to connect with nature in new ways during the winter months. This is especially important for children. KidsGardening compiled a list of some fun garden art activities to do in winter to stay connected to nature. View resource »

Autumn & Winter Garden Activities for Children

Ever look outside at your garden in fall and think, "Yikes, there's so much to do?" Along with other great ideas, his resource will help you organize ways for kids big and small to help with that work! View resource »

Gardening Projects During Winter

Rooted's Farm to ECE team has put together a new resource for educators who work with young learners in the garden. You'll find suggested ways for kids to participate in putting the garden to bed as well as indoor and outdoor winter activities to keep young children engaged in garden-based learning all yearView resource »

News & Announcements

Get a School Garden Scorecard!

Participate in the School Garden Sustainability Survey and next Spring you'll receive a scorecard highlighting your school garden's strengths and opportunities for improvement, complete with resources, guidance, and advice. Developed by the University of Texas at Austin, funded by Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, and in partnership with the SGSO Network, this survey is a part of a nationwide collection of school garden data to help school gardens across the country determine why some succeed and become sustainable. Participate here.

Upcoming Workshops & Events

SGSO Network Webinar:
Regional School Garden Support Models
November 17, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time

Are you seeking ways to more effectively support a large or larger number of school gardens? We will discuss activities that regional support organizations provide and share a framework to enhance your work supporting multiple school gardens. In preparation for this webinar, please complete this templateLearn more and register here.

Wiscosnin Chili Lunch
February 24

Celebrate Wisconsin-grown foods and farm to institution efforts by joining the 2022 Wisconsin Chili Lunch. Join K-12 schools, early care and education programs, hospitals, colleges and more by cooking and serving a chili recipe made with local ingredients on National Chili Day—Thursday, February 24th, 2022! Participation is simple: prepare and serve your Wisconsin Chili Lunch using as many locally grown ingredients as possible, and customize it to meet your needs! Learn more and register here.

Growing School Gardens Summit
April 22-25, 2022 in Denver, CO

Mark your calendars! 
The Growing School Gardens Summit is a gathering designed to support our shared work to strengthen the school garden movement at local and national levels so that all children and youth can have vibrant, resilient school garden programs. As the first-ever national gathering focused entirely on school gardening, the summit will unite educators and leaders to share innovations and harness our collective power for future changeLearn more and register here.

Grants and Funding Opportunities

Youth Garden Grant
Deadline: December 17, 2021

Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States or US Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. Previous Youth Garden Grant winners are not eligible.

Learn more and apply here.

Tasty Tidbits ... of wisdom, fun, and information

How do Plants Survive Winter?
Ever wonder how plants make it through winter without a winter coat or a coat of fur? What's happening below the soil surface? Do trees freeze to their cores? Check out this resource from the Green Bay Botanical Garden! View resource
Garden Joke of the Month: Did you hear about the fox who only ate from gardens? Click here for the answer!

Every garden is ripe with stories.  Maybe it is one about the day the first shovel-full of soil was turned over and the garden was underway.  Or about that time a brave rabbit dared to sample lettuce amidst a class of kindergartners partaking in a garden lesson. Each story has the potential to connect others with your garden program. Send us your story idea, or read our garden storytelling brief for tips on collecting and sharing thestories that make your garden program so special.  

Visit our website!
Getting Started with School Gardens

Just starting a school garden? We're here to help. Check out these free resources, developed right in Wisconsin. Or, send us an email with your questions! 

Got Dirt? Garden Toolkit: Simple, step-by-step guide for starting a school garden
Got Veggies? Nutrition Education Curriculum: Aligned with state standards
Cultivating Childhood Wellness through Gardening Free online training with chapters on planning, planting, growing, and harvesting a garden with kids. Approved for continuing education hours for child care providers (1.5 hours of Registry credit).

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