(left to right) Matthew Blackwell (HMS Principal), Brittany Forgey (HMS Assistant Principal), and Steve Carter (MCPS Superintendent)
In early 2019, America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Bayer Fund, partnered with local farmers to nominate rural schools and awarded more than $2.3 million in grants to enhance their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs. Because area farmers answered the call, Grow Rural Education has awarded Heath Middle School with a $10,000 grant.
Heath Middle School is one of the many schools across the country that has benefited from the Grow Rural Education program. For each grant-winning school, teachers, students and, oftentimes, community members develop plans to create more engaging and innovative STEM programs. Grow Rural Education grants have helped schools purchase an array of STEM-related materials, such as augmented-reality sandboxes, weather-forecasting and robotics equipment. Heath Middle School will use the Grow Rural Education funds to create a tunnel greenhouse and outdoor garden/classroom for students to grow and harvest their own food. They’ll also learn how to be environmentally responsible, sustainable way, all while enjoying the benefits of their work in their own cafeteria.
“America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is a unique program because farmers play an important role throughout the process, from nominating schools to selecting the grant winners,” said Al Mitchell, President, Bayer Fund. “With the incredible support of local farmers, countless grant-winning schools have shared with us how Grow Rural Education funds have made their STEM programs more engaging and, in several instances, positively impacted test scores.”
To qualify for a Grow Rural Education grant, farmers nominated a school or school district to compete for a merit-based grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. School districts that were nominated then submitted a grant application describing their STEM-focused project. Grow Rural Education’s Farmer Advisory Council, consisting of approximately 30 farmer leaders from across the country, reviewed the finalist applications and selected the winning school districts, including Heath Middle School.
Since Grow Rural Education began in 2011, it has awarded more than $18 million to more than 1,000 schools in rural communities across the United States. To view a complete list of winners or to learn more about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, visit AmericasFarmers.com or follow along on Facebook at facebook.com/AmericasFarmers.
About America’s Farmers
The America’s Farmers campaign highlights the importance of modern U.S. Agriculture through communications and community outreach programs that partner with farmers to impact rural America. To learn more, visit America’s Farmers at www.AmericasFarmers.com.
About the Bayer Fund
The Bayer Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the overall health and wellbeing in communities where farmers and Bayer employees live and work. Visit the Bayer Fund at www.monsantofund.org.