REMINGTON — Employees from Bayer Crop Science of Remington recommended Tri-County Intermediate School receive a $10,000 grant from the Bayer Fund’s 2019 site grant initiative.
The funds from the grant will be used to improve the school’s hydroponics program, which offers students engaging experiences that will develop 21st century skills.
According to TCI Principal Brian Hagan, the funds will be used to purchase two vertical hydroponic systems. This will provide students the opportunity to learn a different type of hydroponics system for crops such as peppers and tomatoes.
Hagan took the school through a year-long state certification process to become one of 78 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) schools in Indiana. The school is certified until 2023 and will then go through recertification. The school chose to focus on agriculture, viewed by many as one of the community’s strengths.
Hagan’s goal is to have the systems ready for students when school starts this year. The vision is to provide free student-grown products on the school’s salad bar during school lunch.
“A hydroponics lab will allow more hands-on and project-based learning opportunities in our curriculum,” Hagan said. “We have the obligation to train the minds of tomorrow for a fast-paced world that requires creative thinkers who work well in teams to solve problems.”
Hagan said a hydroponics lab for students in their foundational learning years will provide them with year-round engagement in growing pants and vegetables.
“Many of our students have prior exposure to agriculture, either on their family farm or through 4-H,” he said. “Hydroponics will provide them with an opportunity for learning a different approach to growing and provide tools to stimulate their thinking and prepare them for their and our futures.”
Hagan added that with limited funding and increased accountability from the state, “we wouldn’t be able to provide such excellent opportunities without the support from community organizations like Bayer.”
In 2019, the Bayer Fund awarded more than $1.4 million to nonprofit organizations through its site grant initiative to help address essential needs in rural communities. Nonprofit organizations across the U.S. have received more than $7.5 million through this program over the last five years.
“Our employees at the site spend many hours volunteering their time in the communities that we live and work in,” Jeff Medley, site lead at Remington, stated in a press release. “This grant will allow local students to develop skills that will be needed to feed an expanding world population in a sustainable manner.”