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    Bus Grants Help Connect Children to Iowa’s Agricultural Story

    Northeast Iowa – Over 2,000 students from Northeast Iowa schools now have an opportunity they may have otherwise missed, to learn firsthand about Iowa’s rich agricultural story. For the 2014-2015 school year, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) awarded over $9,500 to 35 schools within the Heritage Area. These schools are able to visit 18 different agriculture destinations, including SSNHA Partner Sites and working farms. From milking a cow at Hansen’s Dairy in Hudson to learning about water conservation at a family farm near West Union, the bus grant program immerses students in a variety of agricultural experiences.

    The bus grants help cover the transportation costs associated with field trips to SSNHA Partner Sites and farms throughout the region. Grants are awarded on a first-received, first-funded basis to accredited Pre K-12 public, private or charter schools located in the Heritage Area; with a maximum of $350 per school building. Funding for this program is made possible through individual contributions, corporate donations and federal funds. These contributors have helped over 14,000 students explore American agriculture since the program started in 2007. Specifically, SSNHA would like to thank the GROWMARK Foundation for their ongoing financial support of the Bus Grant Program, beginning in 2010.

    “We are excited to once again offer this program that allows students to expand their knowledge of agriculture through hands-on learning opportunities. By visiting cultural and farm sites here in Iowa, students see the stories of America’s agriculture brought to life,” commented Don Short, SSNHA President.

    Schools receiving grants include (arranged alphabetically by community):
    Bellevue Elementary, Bellevue; Northeast Hamilton, Blairsburg; St. Patrick School, Cedar Falls; Cleveland Elementary, Cedar Rapids; Five Seasons Learning Center, Cedar Rapids; Viola Gibson Elementary, Cedar Rapids; Lincoln Elementary, Charles City; North Winneshiek Community School, Decorah; St. Benedict School, Decorah; Capitol View Elementary, Des Moines; Bryant Elementary, Dubuque; Eleanor Roosevelt Middle School, Dubuque; Irving Elementary, Dubuque; Prescott Elementary, Dubuque; Lean & Play, Evansdale; Fairbank Elementary, Fairbank; Helen Lemme Elementary, Iowa City; Janesville Consolidated School District, Janesville; Johnston Middle School, Johnston; Cardinal Elementary, Maquoketa; Easton Valley Elementary, Miles; Carpenter Elementary, Monticello; Aurora Heights Intermediate Elementary, Newton; Reinbeck Elementary, Reinbeck; Riceville Community School, Riceville; Durant Elementary, Sumner; North-Linn Elementary, Troy Mills; Rolling Green Elementary, Urbandale; Blessed Sacrament School, Waterloo; Kingsley Elementary, Waterloo; Highland Elementary, Waterloo; Sacred Heart School, Waterloo; St. Edward School, Waterloo; West Cedar Elementary, Waverly; St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Waverly; and AGWSR Elementary, Wellsburg.

    SSNHA is currently working to raise funds for the 2015-2016 school year. To donate to the SSNHA Education Scholarship Fund, click here. For more information, contact Laura Elfers, Education & Interpretation Manager at or 319.234.4567.

    Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area is one of 49 federally designated heritage areas in the nation and is an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service. The Heritage Area covers 37 counties in the northeast quadrant of Iowa. Interstate 80 borders it on the south and Interstate 35 borders it on the west. Through a network of sites, programs and events, SSNHA interprets farm life, agribusiness and rural communities – past and present.

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