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Cornell School District receives $25k grant for student research

By: WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: WEAU 13 News Staff Email

(PRESS RELEASE) CORNELL, Wis. (Oct. 2, 2012) – Cornell High School students can now conduct cutting-edge genetic research in the classroom. Thanks to the support of local farmers and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education℠, Cornell School District received a $25,000 grant to purchase research equipment. Cornell High School students can now collaborate with the University of Minnesota-Duluth researchers on Arabidopsis plant research, commonly known as rock cress.
Horticulture & Science students will be doing everything from germinating seeds to removing DNA from the mature leaf, and sending certain plants to the university for further testing. In the process, students will develop skills like following scientific protocols, and the collection and analysis of data. The overarching goal of the research is to increase crop yields and eventually help relieve world hunger.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a public school district in their community to compete for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance education in the areas of math and/or science. More than 1,000 nominated school districts submitted applications. The Monsanto Fund will invest $2.3 million into rural education through this program.

“Across the Midwest, agriculture is a key component in most small communities,” said Pat Kosher, Cornell High School science teacher. “Agriculture and education play a large role in the vitality of a community, and the school is the visible sign of support and commitment to it. We thank the local farmers for their support of and commitment to the Cornell School District and this project.”

After being nominated by local farmers, school districts completed an online application, and finalists were chosen by math and science teachers from ineligible school districts. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 26 prominent farmers from across the country then reviewed the finalists’ applications and selected the winners.

“I think agriculture is important to the stability of our local, state and national economies, and the impact is often not seen,” said Elizabeth Hillebrand, nominating farmer from Cornell, Wis. “This is one tangible way to show how agriculture aids our communities. After hearing what the school is planning to do with the funds, I am excited that our students will be afforded a rare glimpse into the world of research that may help them with future career interests.”

Cornell School District was presented with the $25,000 grant during a presentation at the homecoming football game on Sept. 28.
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education started with a successful pilot in Illinois and Minnesota in 2011, in which farmers were given the opportunity to nominate a public school district districts in 165 eligible counties in those two states. The Monsanto Fund awarded more than $266,000 to local schools in sixteen CRDs. Now, the program has expanded to 1,245 eligible counties in 39 states.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to help farmers positively impact their communities and support local rural school districts. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to support rural education and communities. Another program that is part of this effort is America’s Farmers Grow Communities that gives s winning farmers the opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to their favorite community nonprofit organization in their county. Farmers can participate in this program through Nov. 30, 2012 by visiting growcommunities.com.

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