MARTINSVILLE, Ind. – Seed Your Future and Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, introduced exciting new additions to BLOOM!, an initiative introduced in April 2018 to excite young people about the power of plants and ensure horticulture — along with the millions who depend on it — thrives well into the future.
BLOOM! is an initiative of Seed Your Future, a coalition of more than 150 partners — including horticulture companies, gardening organizations, schools, colleges, universities, public gardens, youth organizations, nonprofit organizations and individual advocates — united in their mission to promote horticulture and the diverse careers the industry offers.
BLOOM! now includes expanded lesson plans and activity sheets, which support higher standards, and a student contest to help teachers, parents, and youth program leaders educate and inspire young people about the power of plants and the rewarding and plentiful careers in the green-collar world of horticulture. The student Plant-Mash Up! Contest ran until Nov. 21 and challenged middle-schoolers to envision a new plant that could benefit their community, country, or the world for a chance to win credits to the Scholastic online store. All educator resources, contest rules and entry forms can be found on the free educator microsite Scholastic.com/BLOOM.
The website WeAreBLOOM.org serves as a digital hub for all BLOOM! activity and hosts a suite of entertaining, educational resources to interest kids and the adults in their lives. With fresh and inventive videos about real people and their green-collar jobs, the initiative’s YouTube channel @WeAreBLOOM is garnering praise from youth and adults alike.
“This campaign is all about opening young people’s eyes to the incredible power and potential plants have to change the world,” said Susan E. Yoder, executive director of Seed Your Future. “Showing students that plants and the professionals who work with them are critical to the future of the planet is key to ensuring a future that has people who know how to grow safe and nutritious food, develop new life-saving medicines, create magical landscapes and gardens that provide physical and mental health supports, and solve some of our toughest issues such as pollution, clean water, drought, and climate change.”
Horticulture — the art, science, technology and business of plants — touches nearly every facet of life, but awareness of this important industry is at an all-time low. Research shows that the average American can recognize 1,000 brand names and logos, but fewer than 10 local plants. "Plant-blindness" (a lack of awareness of plants) is particularly significant among U.S. youth, a majority of whom have never heard of the term "horticulture," and the industry is experiencing the impact. Nearly 58,000 jobs in horticulture are expected to become available annually for the next five years, but only 61 percent are expected to be filled. At the same time, higher education and horticulture training programs are experiencing declining enrollment.
“Seed Your Future and Scholastic will continue to develop free resources for teachers, parents and youth program leaders,” said Yoder. “Whether BLOOM! introduces today's youth to a lifelong passion or a fulfilling career, one thing is clear — the more we know about plants, the more we can make a difference in the world today."