The Merrill Area Community Foundation announced last week that 14 grants totaling $10,082 had been approved for the Beyond Crayons and Computers grant program to schools throughout the Merrill area public and parochial schools.
Funded through the Foundation, the Beyond Crayons and Computers program invites teams of teachers from Head Start and Early Childhood through high school to submit grant applications that are not only innovative and creative but also involve parents, teachers and other members of the community.
The Merrill Area Community Foundation has been impressed with the variety of innovative and creative projects that will enrich the educational experience, motivate and inspire students, educators and/or the community and fill specific needs in our schools. This year’s grants were awarded to both public and parochial schools at a variety of grade levels, from Head Start to Prairie Middle School.
In the Coop’n Poop project, students at Pine River Elementary School will be responsible for the daily compost collection and maintenance, feeding, egg collection, and care of the chickens and their environment on a daily basis while school is in session. Parents will also be involved in the construction of the chicken coop and composting bin on school grounds. Compost generated through this project will also be used at the FFA Community Garden.
MAPS 3rd grade students will be learning about the solar system and constellations, and moon phases. The Sky Dome Planetarium will come to Kate Goodrich Elementary for three shows, and all of the 160 3rd grade students in the MAPS district will have the opportunity to participate in a show.
Students and Parents at Head Start/Early Childhood will be creating a butterfly way station, planning to certify it through the Monarch Watch: Monarch Way Station Program so they can be part of a population of people that are conserving monarch habitats. Laurie Jacoby stated “Each fall, hundreds of millions of butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to over wintering areas in Mexico and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight in spring. By creating a butterfly way station, students will help create an ecosystem and will understand what it means to conserve.”
The Merrill Area Community Foundation is supported by individuals, corporations, and foundations as a means of giving back to their community. This program began in 2006 and is designed to enhance and reward innovative teaching, learning, and special motivational activities in our schools. Over $65,000, including $10,000 this year has been awarded to area schools since 2006.
Mike Ravn, Board President of the Merrill Area Community Foundation notes the importance of giving back to the community.
“Even in the tough economic circumstances faced by local individuals and companies, our Foundation recognizes that investments in our children’s educations are critical for our future,” Ravn said. “The Community Foundation is proud to support our public and parochial schools with the Beyond Crayons and Computers grants. This program is in addition to the grants we have provided to local organizations including Haven, Inc., Merrill Soccer Association, Girl Scouts, St. Vincent DePaul, Disaster Preparedness for Senior Citizens, Merrill Youth Softball, Athletic Park Improvement Project, Merrill Free Clinic, Bell Tower Residence, EMT Paramedic Upgrade, Merrill Rotary Club, the Merrill Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the United Way for 211 development and the Merrill Historical Society. It is our hope that individuals that have benefited from these grants will continue to give back to the community that has been so generous to them.”
A committee consisting of Foundation board members and educational leaders in Merrill schools reviewed the applications and determined the grant recipients.
Donations may be sent to the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin – Merrill Area Community Foundation Fund at 500 Third Street, Suite 310, Wausau, WI 54403. Those wishing to be of assistance may contact Ravn at 715-536-5577 or Tom Cadwallader at 715-536-9784.