The Nursery is actively seeking funding for its long-term operation and has done extensive research on other sources of funding. We are organizing and participating in a planning retreat with SER-UW (Society for Ecological Restoration, UW chapter) on May 9th to determine future long-term funding options for the SER-UW organization as a whole. We are also working towards finding funding that will support a staff position at the Nursery. In the future, education courses to the public could be used as a source of income to help support the nursery; currently, we wish to offer classes for free or donation to determine interest in the community as well as solicit feedback for the classes. Currently, the Nursery makes some revenue from contract-grown plants and public plant sales, which is then held in the SER-UW RSO account and helps us to partially self-fund supplies for the nursery. We have also had meetings with UW Botanic Gardens and the UW College of the Environment Advancement Department to determine the best approach for future funding. These groups advised us that finding private donors, non-UW based grants, or unallocated departmental funds was unlikely. They advised that the best possible way for funding the Nursery next year would be through on-campus grants, such as the CSF program. The specific goals of this grant proposal--writing a management plan for the Nursery as well as writing curriculum for volunteer work parties and evening classes--will be completed within the 2016-2017 academic year. These projects are meant to be resources for future Nursery managers, and are specifically intended to support the long-term success and impact of the Native Plant Nursery. We are already operating a functioning native plant nursery entirely through student leadership and volunteer work--the new RA positions will only strengthen and improve how we function.
Potential Funding Reductions:
With a 5% funding reduction, we would attempt to re-work our budget to lower supply costs. With a 10-20% cut to our funding request, we would need to reduce the supplies we purchase, limiting our ability to complete our stated goals. Jessica Farmer, UW Botanic Gardens adult education supervisor, helped us to determine that each class would incur about $150 cost. With large funding cuts, we would reduce the number of classes and cut either irrigation or fertilizer comparisons to reduce the cost of our plan. A 20% or more reduction would also cut into the salary budget, which would decrease the amount of time we could dedicate to the nursery. Plant care, managing our interns, and running weekly work parties for students takes time. As nursery managers,we dedicate several hours every week to meet and work with our interns to help them build their skill sets and set them up for success when they lead work parties or work on their own; a large salary reduction of 20% or more would force us to make tough choices of where to allocate our time and efforts, and we would have to sacrifice either running the nursery or the time we dedicate with our interns and our outreach events. With RA positions, we can allocate 20 hours each--a full 40 hours between two positions--per week. The CSF committee asked, in response to our Letter of Intent, that if RA tuition is not funded, how would that affect our proposal. Both of our nursery managers are financially unsupported graduate students. Funding tuition would allow us to focus all of our energy towards improving the nursery’s management plan and education outreach; otherwise, we would be unable to turn down an offer for the opportunity of a fully-funded Teaching or Research Assistantship elsewhere. The nursery would suffer without anyone to run it, and would decrease the quality of plants available to students and our partners. Many people and organizations support and rely on our ability to grow native plants, from professors to students to the UW Grounds Management team. We have made tremendous progress in the last year by constructing our hoop house, engaging nearly 100 student volunteers, and providing 800 plants to on-campus projects. Courtney Bobsin will be taking over as the Plant Production RA; she has worked at SER-UW’s Native Plant Nursery for both Winter and Spring quarters of 2016 and has built many of the skills required to research and complete a management plan. The Education RA position will be filled by Mary-Margaret Greene, who has worked as a nursery manager at the Nursery for Spring quarter of 2016. Mary-Margaret has also written and taught environmental education and has a certificate in Environmental Education from Teton Science Schools. Both Courtney and Mary-Margaret will work together as a cohesive team and lend support to each other in both projects, as both have experience in running the Nursery and in education and curriculum design.
Active: Post-implementation phase