Monsanto grants $10,000 to Miller School District

Posted October 8, 2013 at 6:17 pm

The Miller School District is the recipient of a $10,000 grant through America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund.

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Jaimi M. Lammers | The Miller Press
It was a dark and stormy night. Representatives withstood the rain Friday night to accept a $10,000 donation to the school from Monsanto Fund. Pictured are, from left, Steve Schumacher, MHS Principal; Monty Heilman, Monsanto; Rhett Wagner, Miller FFA Chapter President; and Mark Ketelhut, MHS FFA Advisor.

The program offers area farmers the chance to nominate a local public school district the chance to compete for a grant of up to $25,000 to enhance math and/or science education.

More than 1,150 nominated school districts submitted applications, and the Monsanto Fund will invest $2.3 million through the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grants this year.

Miller’s secondary principal, Steve Schumacher, explained that Monsanto contacted him last spring that area farmers had nominated Miller School to be eligible for a $10,000 grant.

Schumacher in turn discussed the grant with Mark Ketelhut, vocational ag instructor and FFA advisor.

“He had the idea of an outdoor classroom already in mind,” Schumacher explained. “This idea was also discussed with our math and science teachers and ways we could incorporate their classes in the project.”

According to Schumacher, the Outdoor Classroom is a plot of land that will be equipped with raised beds and a high tunnel structure, to grow perennial and annual fruits and vegetables. The classroom will be established and maintained by students in the agricultural education department and FFA members, along with the assistance of other elementary and secondary students.”

“The primary goal will be to have students utilize the growing of fruits and vegetables to learn scientific principles relating to plant structure, reproduction, growth and soil analysis,” said Schumacher.

The math part of the project will be incorporated by having students calculate area, fertility, chemical and water applications, and harvesting and yield data.

Marketing, sales and business plans will be developed by students throughout the project as well.

“Student will have an excellent opportunity to learn with ‘hands on’ educational experiences,” said Schumacher.

The majority of the grant funds will be used to purchase or replace equipment needed for the Outdoor Classroom.

The Outdoor Classroom won’t be a one-time endeavor. Once established, it will be an ongoing educational facility.