In 2013, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance awarded a $30,000 challenge grant to the Bandon High School Go Native project which required Go Native to raise the challenged amount from other sources before they were eligible to receive the grant from WRCA.  With the determination and dedication of Darcy Grahek, the Bandon School District’s Indian Education coordinator and an experienced commercial gardener, Go Native’s fundraising efforts exceeded WRCA’s challenged amount in less than one year.  The Go Native project was able to use the WRCA grant, in conjunction with the other sources of funding, to build a greenhouse, obtain a nursery permit, and procure supplies to teach propagation and plant nursery skills to students.  Student participation in Go Native, a project-based learning program, is available through the school curriculum, an after-school program, and summer activities.


In August 2014, the Go Native nursery became the host site for 175 coastal redwood tree saplings that were cultivated by the nonprofit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA). AATA is creating living libraries of old-growth tree genetics by cloning old growth trees through traditional and advanced horticultural propagation.  The Go Native students tended the tree saplings throughout the summer and planted the trees during the fall in locations throughout the city of Bandon.

In an effort to raise awareness for the Go Native project, 21 Bandon High school students, under the direction of local muralist Vicki Affatati, designed and painted seven panels that are displayed on the side of the Bandon Mercantile Company in Old Town Bandon. The mural depicts 12 native plants in blooming form to emphasize how important native plants and biodiversity are to the area.  Many local businesses and individuals donated materials, money, and time demonstrating the amazing collaboration that makes the South Coast community so strong.


In future years, the native plants that are grown in the nursery will become assets that have the potential to be sold to watersheds, riparian property owners, cities, nurseries, landscapers, and homeowners. The students look for species grown for important cultural benefits, for beauty, and/or because they are attractive to pollinators. Money earned will be reinvested into the project to fund future supplies and personnel required to manage the project.