Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…Keep Those Seed Balls Rolling!

  • Location
    Thousand Oaks, California
  • Status
  • Age Level
    8 to 10 Years

The Problem

The Roots and Shoots Campaign that my 2021-2022 class has decided to start this school year actually is a fifth-year continuation and addition onto the campaigns that my 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2019-2020 classes began - that of a flourishing Monarch Waystation. This year's class would like to continue to build upon my previous classes’ vision by not only incorporating other native plants to attract other types of butterflies, especially those which flourish while the Monarch migrates north and or south of our garden, but would also like to inspire the creation of other Monarch enthusiasts through the gifting of “seed balls” to our classmates.

Our Plan

My 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 classes learned that seed balls made gardening easy, fun, and accessible. They learned that seed balls grow endangered wildflowers needed by pollinators, protect seeds from wind, birds, squirrels, and other critters, and has easy dispersal for more uniform coverage. So, they hand-rolled approximately 1,000 seed balls and shared them with their families and friends by distributing the seed balls with planting directions (the “guerilla” method of tossing the seed balls while hiking was the most popular to write about!) to entire school to take home to plant in their gardens. Many of my 2021-2022 class got to take these seed balls home as kindergarteners and came into my third grade class at the beginning of this year not only wanting to make more seed balls, but teach our school community about the importance of advocating for pollinators. So, this year’s class’s plan of action is to not only make more seed balls to share with our school community, but also to work on a Flipgrid digital tour of our garden and the components which make is a sustainable benefit for pollinators to share with our school community.

Themes Addressed

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    Community Enhancement
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    Endangered Species
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    Migratory species
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The Benefit

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Here is how the project went:

My class of 16 students plus 4 adult volunteers (3 parents and myself) rolled over 1,000 seedballs filled with a soil matrix and a seed mix of regionally native wildflower seeds, including milkweed. Once the seedballs dried, we packaged three seedballs plus instructions on how to plant the seedballs in the spring in a small plastic baggie. With over 350 seedball baggies assembled, my students will be visiting all of our Transitional Kindergarten through 5th grade classes in March explaining the benefit to pollinators of planting these seedballs in our neighborhood and community and give one seedball baggie to each student at our school to plant at home or "guerilla plant" (toss the seedballs into the natural vegetation while walking on the trail) while out hiking in Wildwood Park or any other nature trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Through this project I/we learned:

Through this project, my students learned that working together can accomplish a big goal - one that may not be possible on one's own. They also learned that by sharing what they have learned with others can positively affect the point of view of someone else which might inspire their participation and action to help make their world a better place, too.

What I/we might change:

If we were to complete this project again, we might try to develop a more permanent way to display our knowledge gained about seedballs and pollinators so that our classmates would be able to revisit what they were taught during our classroom visits to disperse our seedball packages.

My/our favorite part of this project was:

My favorite part of this project was seeing how much enthusiasm it generated in my students to WANT to do something to help the pollinators in our local community. My students learned that something as small as a seedball has a huge impact and that they have the power to effect change in their neighborhood...a very powerful concept to experience!

Some tips, tricks or fun facts about the project:

If anyone else is considering making seedballs, please note that it is very important to keep the soil matrix moist. To help with this (as the matrix can dry out when it comes in contact with the skin as it is being rolled), I had out small containers of water so that my students could moisten their fingertips as they took small chunks of the matrix to roll the seeds in. It also helps to put a little water in the matrix bag and seal it completely if you need to continue rolling seedballs on another day.

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