December 21, 2014

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Monsanto Fund’s $10K grant helps expand Wellington Schools greenhouse program

Monsanto Fund donated $10,000 to Wellington Schools for its rural education program. Front row, from left, are Anna Bradstock, Morgan McDonnell, Jackie Wagner, Autumn Horneck and Mike Yoder of Monsanto. In the middle row, from left, are Michaela Price, Kerstan Baker, Brianna Walter, Janelle Pitts and John Nolan, superintendent of Wellington Schools. Top row, from left, are Shannon Thome, agriculture teacher, Denise Breyley, FAA alumni and Christopher Wert, Wellington High School principal. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Monsanto Fund donated $10,000 to Wellington Schools for its rural education program. Front row, from left, are Anna Bradstock, Morgan McDonnell, Jackie Wagner, Autumn Horneck and Mike Yoder of Monsanto. In the middle row, from left, are Michaela Price, Kerstan Baker, Brianna Walter, Janelle Pitts and John Nolan, superintendent of Wellington Schools. Top row, from left, are Shannon Thome, agriculture teacher, Denise Breyley, FAA alumni and Christopher Wert, Wellington High School principal. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

WELLINGTON – Wellington Schools will expand its greenhouse management program after receiving a $10,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund.

Students will be able to grow vegetables for the school’s cafeteria while they learn about the science behind planting. Superintendent John Nolan said the grant will be used to install heating and proper ventilation in the district’s greenhouse so that students can grow plants there throughout the year.

The grant was made possible by America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, which is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund. The organization offers farmers the chance to nominate a local public school district, which can then compete for a grant of up to $25,000 to enhance math or science education. More than 1,150 nominated school districts submitted applications, according to a news release.

According to the release, applications were reviewed based on merit, need and community involvement, with the strongest applications being sent to the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, which is comprised of farmer-leaders with an interest in agriculture and education.

The $10,000 check was presented during a ceremony at WellingtonHigh School on Wednesday. Students, school administrators and community members, including the local farmers who participated in the nomination process, were in attendance.

Nolan said the district was pleased to receive the grant, which will expand the hands-on portion of the plant science curriculum.

“We learn best by doing,” he said.

Nolan added that he hoped more students would head into the greenhouse management field after graduation, as there is an importance for locally grown products.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education launched nationally in 2012 and has grown to include 1,271 eligible counties in 39 states. Since its inception, the program has invested more than $4.8 million in rural school districts across the country.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.