COLUMBIA— After receiving a grant, Benton Elementary School will be going green.
Principal Troy Hogg said the Verizon Foundation approached Benton with an interest in giving money to a school oriented around a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, curriculum.
"We were lucky the Verizon Foundation was interested in supporting the STEM program," Hogg said. "They encouraged us to apply for the grant."
Last month, Benton received a $12,000 check from the Verizon Foundation. All Columbia Public Schools were invited to submit applications for the grant.
Benton will use the money to fund a "green" component to its curriculum.
"One of the things were are doing with the STEM program is encouraging students to pursue green options for sustainability," Hogg said.
The school will construct greenhouses, raised beds and "green science" equipment at the school. This equipment includes composting bins, gardening tools, rain barrels, solar panels and weather monitoring stations.
"We are looking to build a couple greenhouses so that we have enough room to have a small gardening table for each class, which is kindergarten through fifth grade," Hogg said.
In addition to learning urban gardening skills, all classes will be involved in learning how to compost. It will be used to fertilize the beds.
Hogg said that because students live in the city, not many have had exposure to gardens and the ability to grow their own food.
Plans also include constructing an outdoor classroom. Benton is looking for grants to add math and engineering components to the classroom.
The mission of Benton's STEM program is to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Hogg hopes that by adding this green component, it will add additional interest areas for students.
"If the kids take a liking to green sciences it is something that they can do in the future," said Hogg. "I really hope that this will have a large impact."
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