Press Release

April 17, 2019

Wildlife for Everyone Foundation’s Fundraising Efforts Come to the Rescue; Ensure Youth Program Continues

State College, PA - The fact that central Pennsylvania received an inordinate amount of rainfall last year can’t be disputed. No one knows this better than the staff at Howard Nursery, an entity of the Pennsylvania Game Commission that produces bare-root seedlings for wildlife food and cover on state game lands. The Howard Nursery also administers the Seedlings for Schools program that offers a free seedling to every school-age child in the state of Pennsylvania to plant and observe its growth. Last year’s rainfall left the 2019 Seedlings for Schools program in doubt.

Image of sapling underwater at Howard Nursery in 2018Silky Dogwood is a large shrub that produces blue berries in the fall. It is attractive to wildlife and accounted for half the seedlings distributed to more than 160,000 children across the state through the Seedlings for Schools program in 2018.

In the past, nearly all of the Silky Dogwood seed for the program has been gathered by Howard Nursery staff. They plant the seed, then harvest the seedlings for use in the program. “Collecting seed (versus purchasing) is critical to nursery operations from a budget standpoint and also to ensure seedling – quality,” states Brian Stone, manager of Howard Nursery. “Local seed sources are used to grow trees and shrubs acclimated to the regional climate zone and soil conditions, ensuring a successful harvest,” he explains.

Last summer, when staff set out to collect Silky Dogwood seed from the Nursery’s reliable Centre County source, they found the shrubs underwater and the roads leading to the picking sites closed. Flood waters rose, the result of a decision to hold the Foster Joseph Sayers Dam closed to protect towns downstream from flooding. The rising water almost touched the bottom of the bridge that carries pickers to the coveted spot. To make matters worse, when the waters finally receded, the seed that had dropped had been washed away. With the source of the program’s most popular tree species underwater, the fate of the Seedlings for Schools program was in jeopardy.

Enter the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation (WFEF), the non-profit organization that promotes wildlife conservation and education in Pennsylvania. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of WFEF, the Nursery was able to purchase 90 pounds of Silky Dogwood seed. “That 90 pounds, under ideal conditions, could potentially grow 1 million tree seedlings in one year,” comments Stone. “Everyone here at the Game Commission’s Howard Nursery really appreciates the generosity of the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation. Thanks to WFEF’s fundraising, we will now have Silky Dogwood seedlings for the program next year.”

The Seedlings for Schools program continues to expand with new initiatives. In response to increased interest in the declining populations of pollinators, the program introduced pollinator garden packages in 2019. These packages consist of 25 native trees and shrubs that are pollinator-friendly. “The response was huge,” remarks Stone. “We indicated that availability for the pollinator gardens was on a first come-first serve basis… and we sold out in one day!” The Pollinator Garden program definitely has a future.

The Seedlings for Schools and Pollinator Garden programs allow students to connect with nature first-hand and experience their role as caretaker of the world they live in. The Wildlife for Everyone Foundation pursues grant opportunities and seeks private donations to raise money to ensure these programs continue. To make a donation, visit the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation website at or call the Foundation office at 814-238-8138.

The vision of the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation is to be the leading advocate for wildlife conservation in Pennsylvania. The foundation was formed in 2004 to provide all wildlife enthusiasts with a way to show their commitment through much-needed financial support for wildlife conservation efforts and education. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised millions of dollars to support projects including wildlife and wetland habitat improvements, creek and lake restorations, the Seedlings for Schools program and student educational opportunities. The Foundation’s mission connects all wildlife and nature enthusiasts to the great outdoors, including birders, hunters, anglers, students and everyone with an appreciation for nature’s treasures. For more information, visit

The following are sponsors of the Seedlings for Schools and new Pollinator Garden programs:

EQT Foundation
The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation
Holleran Donor-Advised Fund of Berks County Community Foundation
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania
FirstEnergy Foundation
First National Bank
The Sourbeer Family

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