Northeast Iowa – Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area (SSNHA) is providing teachers the opportunity to immerse their students in the world of agriculture through hands on experiences. SSNHA will begin accepting applications for the 2014-2015 Bus Grant Program season on August 15, 2014. Bus Grants help fund transportation to agriculturally related field trips to SSNHA Partner Sites and farm sites throughout the region. Student experiences range from discovering where milk comes from at Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy in Hudson to learning about ag drainage tile at the Hurstville Lime Kilns in Maquoketa. Through a partnership with GROWMARK, Inc., a total of $10,000 will be available to Northeast Iowa schools during the year’s application process.
These field trips are making lasting impressions. A 5th grade student visiting the State Historical Museum shared, “I learned so much about Iowa’s history, how our state’s government works and why farming is so important to Iowa. I discovered balance is important… Balance in how the farmers use all their resources, the land, water, energy is important so in the future we can continue to be leaders in farming and providing for the world.”
Awarded on a first-received, first funded basis; accredited Pre K-12 public, private or charter schools located within the 37-county Heritage Area may apply online for one grant per year with a maximum of $350 awarded per school. Field trips must have an agricultural component. Grant monies are to be used for transportation costs to and from any one of the over 100 SSNHA Partner Sites or farm site located within the Heritage Area. The grant cycle will remain open until all funds are depleted or until December 1, 2014.
Since 2007, the program has helped over 14,000 youth learn about agriculture and where their food comes from. For more information or to apply for a bus grant, visit www.silosandsmokestacks.org/bus-grants.
SSNHA is one of 49 federally designated heritage areas in the nation and is 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.