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Who is funding this curriculum?
 This curriculum and website are supported by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture through grant 23SCBPMA1192 Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.  The branch of the FDA funding this is MDAR (Massachusetts Department of Agriculture.)

Who is the author?
Jocelyn Demuth is the author of the curriculum. She has been a teacher for the past  29 years in public, private, charter, and parochial schools. Now Jocelyn runs the native plant nursery, Checkerspot Farm in Colrain MA.  For this project, she has contracted with entomologists and grade level teachers to review the curriculum for accuracy and student engagement. 

How long does this curriculum take?
The entire curriculum may take several weeks but each unit is broken into smaller, stand-alone chunks so the teacher can spend as much or as little time as they like.  

Do I have to get the plants from the places on this website?
No, you do not.  However,  if you buy them at other nurseries, make sure you are buying a straight species and not a cultivar which may or may not support the habitat the curriculum is designed to familiarize students with.  Read more about how and why to avoid cultivars on the "Get Plants" page

How much maintenance do these plants need? What about summer?
Other than occasional weeding, these plants do not need any special maintenance, - no fertilizer, mulch or any attention during the summer. 

Can I just grow these plants by seed instead?
You can but it will likely be several years before any habitat will be built.  Many native plants need to be planted in the winter or they won't germinate in the spring.  They also germinate less reliably and grow much more slowly than many commercial seeds.

When should I put the plants in the ground?
In general, fall is the best time to plant but native plants can be planted anytime.  If planted during a dry summer, they may need to be watered several times as they become established.  

How do I get free plants?
If you are a Title 1 school, you can apply for free flats of plants on the "Contact Page."  If there are more applicants than free flats budgeted in the grant,  preference will be given to schools where multiple classrooms are using the curriculum.

What about tools?
Barring any site preparation,  the only tool needed to plant is a hand spade.  Links to cheap sources of hand spades will be posted on the "Get Plants" tab after the units are uploaded.

My school doesn't have a lot of property - Can we do this?
Absolutely!  Pussytoes (K-2) unit can be planted in many different places - full shade and full sun.  The space needed for the Caterpillarpalooza unit is only 4' x4'.  Native plants actually do better when planted close to one another
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