Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Monsanto grant supports ‘Discover the Flyway’ field trips

Discover the Flyway staff and an intern explore the life in a summer wetlands pond at the Yolo Basin Foundation demonstration wetlands with Monsanto representatives. From left are Corky Quirk, education associate; Marlin Edwards; Robin Kulakow, executive director; Michael Beeler; Heidi Satter, education coordinator; and Joann Pyon, UC Davis student intern. Courtesy photo

The Yolo Basin Foundation is a recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund, which strives to meet critical needs in communities in a number of ways including investing in K-12 education, and projects focused on hunger, nutrition and first responders.

Students from disadvantaged communities will be able to “Discover the Flyway” on a field trip next year to the Yolo Basin Wildlife Area, thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund to the Yolo Basin Foundation.

Founded in 1990, the foundation is dedicated to community education about wetlands and preservation use, and offers educational programs for all ages. “Discover the Flyway” is a school education program that offers field trips to help local K-12 students learn about the importance of the wetlands habitat, water management, wildlife preservation and agriculture.

“Many of these students come from under-served, disadvantaged schools where there is little or no money for science school field trips,” said Joy Elson, the foundation’s development coordinator. “This grant makes it possible for students to take part in this educational experience and participate in hands-on activities such as plant identification, bird adaptations, agriculture, water quality and Native American life.”

The grant will cover costs associated with all aspects of the field trip, including recruiting and training of the volunteers and interns, teacher workshops, in-class activities, interactive learning materials and bus transportation to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area east of Davis.

“In learning about wetlands and wildlife, the students also learn about agriculture and water issues,” Elson said.

The Yolo Basin Foundation and the Woodland Monsanto site have had a working relationship since 2007. The “Discover the Flyway” program has received funding from the Monsanto Fund for the past six years. The Woodland Monsanto site employees have served as volunteers and attended several of the organization’s environmental events.

“This region is pivotal to agricultural water supply for the state, and also represents the home region of nearly 300 Monsanto employees and their families,” said Marlin Edwards, Monsanto vegetable technology lead at the Woodland site. “We believe the Yolo Basin Foundation is an outstanding example of how the Monsanto Fund can support public education in a way that is wholly consistent with the broader interests of the Monsanto business.”



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