HARRISONBURG — Three area schools received grants from Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom — Mountain View Elementary School and Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Rockingham County, and Keister Elementary School in Harrisonburg.
A total of 62 grants were awarded to 38 Virginia localities for the 2019-2020 school year. Funding will be allocated to provide 25,000 youth with agriculture experiences related to gardening, animal agriculture, health and nutrition, and leadership development, according to a press release.
Autumn Pequignot is new to Mountain View Elementary School this year, but not to the ag in the classroom grant. She received a grant last year while a teacher at Lacey Spring Elementary School to host “Ag Adventures,” a daylong stations-based event that allowed students to interact with animals, learn about dairy farming, beekeeping and more.
She applied for the grant this year to bring the same experience to students at Mountain View. The $500 will go toward supplies for station activities, and whatever is left over will be used to purchase ag textbooks for the classroom and library.
“This event takes so much and includes so much,” Pequignot said.
At Pleasant Valley Elementary School, the $500 ag in the classroom grant will be used to purchase lamps for plants that can be used specifically in fourth grade classrooms for science units involving plants, their life cycle, etc., each fall, Principal Sara Hammill said.
“In addition we’re planning to add some additional raised garden beds outside in our courtyard area. We currently have one, as well as a milkweed patch as we spend a lot of our first weeks of school in our primary grades following the life cycle of butterflies,” Hammill said.
Eventually, the school hopes to work it out so that during the summer, students’ families can adopt garden plots and benefit from the fresh fruits and vegetables grown.
The Daily News-Record reached out to Keister Elementary School for comment but did not receive a response.