Illinois School District Receives $10,000 Grant to Update Science Lab

The Bushnell-Prairie School District’s science lab has come a long way since the building was built in 1959 in Bushnell, Ill. This year, it will be enhanced with brand new equipment. Thanks to the support of local farmers and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, Bushnell-Prairie received a $10,000 grant to update and modernize the district’s science lab. The grant will provide cutting-edge equipment for chemistry, biology and physics projects.

“The science enrollment is up considerably at the high school, and we have added a dual credit biology class to the curriculum. Our students will be more prepared for college, and eventually the workforce, because they will be able to do more hands-on science work,” said Nancy Heron, Bushnell-Prairie grant coordinator. “They will also develop new skills and enthusiasm for work in the areas of math and science.”

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, 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 and/or science education. More than 1,150 nominated school districts submitted applications during the last program year.

“We are very grateful to the farmers for being concerned and taking the time to nominate us. They probably do not realize the impact that it will have this year and in years to come,” said Heron.

Bushnell-Prairie School District was presented with the $10,000 grant at a ceremony during the halftime of the homecoming football game last Sept.

Nominated school districts across the country submitted grant applications last spring. During the summer, a panel of educators from ineligible districts reviewed and evaluated applications based on merit, need and community involvement. The strongest submissions were then sent to the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council. The Advisory Council, comprised of farmer-leaders with an interest in agriculture and education, selected the winning grant applications from this pool of finalists.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education launched nationally in 2012 and has grown to include 1,289 eligible counties in 39 states. Since its inception, the program has invested nearly $5 million in rural school districts across the country.

America's Farmers Grow Rural Education helps farmers support math and science education in local rural school districts. Currently in its third year, this program is part of the Monsanto Fund's overall effort to support rural education and communities. The 2014 nomination period is Jan. 6 to April 6, 2014. Applications are due April 21, 2014. To learn more about the program, please visit GrowRuralEducation.com.