In early 2020, Bayer Fund’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education partnered with local farmers to nominate rural public school districts and award grants to enhance their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum. Because area farmers answered the call, through Grow Rural Education, Bayer Fund awarded a $15,000 grant to Valley View Junior High science and STEM teacher Jill Weaver.
Grow Rural Education grants have helped schools purchase an array of STEM-related materials. This grant will allow Jill Weaver’s science students conduct experiments on sending seeds and soil samples into the stratosphere with weather balloons. The school’s "Seeds in Space" program will include multiple balloon launches and opportunities for students to log and track their seeds at different altitudes and temperatures.
“As educators, we are constantly thinking of new ways to engage our students and help them realize the importance of STEM skills now and in the future, said Valley View Superintendent Ben Richards. “We would like to thank the local farmers who nominated our district to apply for the Grow Rural Education Grant, as well as Bayer Fund’s Farmer Advisory Council who believed we could make a difference with the funds.”
To qualify for a Grow Rural Education grant, farmers nominate a public school district to compete for a merit-based $15,000 grant. School districts that are nominated, then submit a grant application describing their STEM-focused project. Grow Rural Education’s Farmer Advisory Council, consisting of a panel of math and science teachers and approximately 30 farmer leaders from across the country, review the finalist applications and select the winning school districts, including Valley View.