WATERVILLE, Ohio — Students in Waterville soon will add hands-on environmental lessons to their curriculum, courtesy of a grant that will both teach them about and help them protect the area's ecosystem. A program called America's Farmers Grow Rural Education recently selected schools around the nation to enhance STEM programs with $10,000 and $25,000 grants.

Waterville Primary received a $10,000 grant.

"Luckily for us, two of our local farmers, farming families - we're a strong agricultural community - nominated us," said Waterville Primary School Principal Dr. Jamie Hollinger.

The grant money will establish an area to help protect and sustain the local ecosystem. The project is made possible with the help of the Toledo Zoo and Project Prairie.

"We feel like we're really teaching our students how to be stewards of the environment," Hollinger said.

She said this prairie will allow the students to have a rich, authentic, problem-based learning experience. 

Each grade will have its own piece of flora to plant within the prairie, and students will watch and document the growth throughout the year. 

"The first couple of years, the prairie isn't going to look very good - we've warned our neighbors around the school it's going to look pretty weedy - but by the third year it will be full established and blooming and beautiful," Hollinger said.

With the help of the grant, the students will simultaneously grow their learning and help the ecosystem. 

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