The Greening of Truckee Elementary

Grant Applicant
Stephanie Blume
Grant Co-applicants
Kelly Akins, Ed.S. School Psychologist, Truckee Elementary & Donner Trail Elementary
School Site
Truckee Elementary
Grant Category
Life Skills & Health
Grant Date
Description (10 points)

Numerous studies have shown that indoor plants provide a number of benefits for health and wellbeing, including decreases in illness symptoms, increases in work performance and job satisfaction, and lifting of spirits (for review, see, eg., Burchett et al., 2010). One specific study, conducted in Norway (Fjeld, 2002) found that potted‐plants reduced sick‐leave absences among primary school children. The second report was from a Taiwanese study (Han, 2009), which found that both class marks and behaviour in elementary school students were improved when plants were installed in the classrooms and in the hallways. 

Plants in the school setting have also been found to improve performance in middle school and highschool students (eg Shibata & Suzuki, 2004), and lower their feelings of physical discomfort (Lohr & Pearson‐Mims, 2000). Schools with planted classrooms and hallways rated their school experience more highly than those in the group without plants, indicating perhaps that both staff and students were happier with plants in their workspace.

Taking this information into account, I would like to request funding to support the purchase of several large planters, rolling base platforms for the planters, and large interior house plants so that we may "green" our hallways and entryways at Truckee Elementary. I have established a contact person in Reno who specializes in the selection of inside plants based on light and temperature variations. He is willing to donate his time to visit our school site, give recommendations, advice, and help us in purchasing plants as he owns a small garden shop in Reno Eric at the Villager Nursery in Truckee has also offered to assist in helping us find large planters. 

Benefits of Program (10 points)

First, research has shown that plants can significantly improve indoor air quality in office buildings (with or without air‐conditioning). Research has shown that two or three plants in an office can significantly reduce levels of CO2 and air‐borne volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are continually outgassing from plastic/synthetic surfaces (furnishings, fittings, equipment eg computers, copiers etc). Such benefits could be significant in closed classrooms with flueless gas heaters on in winter, since raised CO2 levels cause loss of concentration and drowsiness.

Additionally, other research shows that plant presence is directly linked to improved performance and productivity in students (Lohr et al., 1996; Bringslimark et al., 2007). Also, a recent study with 55 participants showed that plants in an office setting resulted in 30 to 60% reductions in feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Other research indicates that nearby greenery resets our calm’ button (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1990), and that indoor plants are also directly attractive, evoking positive responses among building occupants (Dijkstra et al., 2008)). In one study researchers found upon visiting schools, that teachers and students showed great interest in having plants at their school sites. 

With our school re-model due to be completed by Summer, it would be a wonderful addition to our school setting to have several large planters with various plants. I would like to invite and support a group of students in becoming stewards of the plants which would involve watering, trimming, and general care of the plants. Kelly Akins would like to also support this with students that she will be seeing. 

Success of Program (10 points)

Items being requested:

10 large planters - about $90.00 to 100.00 each

Selected interior house plants - range $30.00 to $70.00 each

10 Rolling racks for plants - $20.00 to $30.00 each

Rocks, moss, and soil for planters - about $ 200.00 total


Implementation (10 points)

I would like to review colors with the school site staff for the large planters before June. Once color and design options have been presented and staff and janitorial feedback have been given, I would like to do a site walk with Ken from the The Plant Agenda in Reno to gain his insight and advice by the end of June or early July. Planters, soil, plants and misc. material will be ordered by July or August and installed before the start of the 2019 school year. 

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

I feel that this grant could be shared with my team and shared across grade levels. I would also love to include our school site Green Team to help and participate. 

Once the plants are installed they will be an enduring gift to our school site community. During the summer when staff are not on site, automated watering systems can be installed in the planters to support ongoing watering. Perhaps in the future additional funding could support additional planters on site.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$2000 - Planters, rolling racks, soil, moss, rocks
Budget Notes

I do not have exact pricing on planters and plants as we will need to decide on both. I would like to be able to research and find the best pricing on large planters perhaps traveling to Sacramento to purchase planters in bulk and at bulk pricing. 

Other funding sources

It is my understanding that school site funds do not exist for this specific type of school beautification project.