February 23, 2017
Article Courtesy of Holt County Independent
The O'Neill Public School recently received numerous donations and grants to build a greenhouse on city land north of the high school.
The funds will be used to build a 48'x24' greenhouse that will be constructed by local contractor Don Dugan as soon as Mother Nature takes a break. The greenhouse will be used by the FFA, elementary after school program and the agricultural education classes.
The greenhouse will offer students the opportunity to raise flowers and vegetables and give them an opportunity to learn about the growing process, plant identification, floriculture and raising food to meet the community's needs.
"We hope that by giving students more hands on education concerning agriculture and growing things will encourage them to strive for careers in those areas and retain these students in our community to meet the employment needs we have," said Superintendent Amy Shane.
The Developing Eagles received a $25,000 grant for their "Growing O'Neill" program which includes supplies for planting and caring for an outdoor community garden as well as more than $18,000 to be used for the purchase of the greenhouse.
"The O'Neill Agricultural Education Program and Developing Eagles afterschool program would like to say thank you to the local and regional organizations that have provided support for their efforts to put up an educational greenhouse," said Superintendent Shane. "They want to thank the O'Neill City Council and the residents of the Tara Hill subdivision that are allowing the greenhouse to be erected on the city land."
OPS received a $10,000 grant from Farm Credit Services of America's (FSCAmerica) Working Here Fund.
"At FSCAmerica, many of us grew up in agriculture and continue to farm. We know firsthand the value of agriculture education and are proud to partner with OPS to ensure future generations have the same opportunities for learning," said Zach Ganesbom, a vice-president of retail operations at FSCAmerica's O'Neill office.
OPS is one of 12 organizations to receive an expanded Working Here Fund grant to support projects focused on agricultural education, hunger and nutrition, young beginning producers or essential services and rural disaster relief.
Also donating to the project were FFA Boosters, $30,000; Pinnacle Bank, $5,000; Upper Elkhorn NRD, $2,500; O'Neill Community Foundation Fund, $1,000; and the former Ladies Auxiliary to the O'Neil Fraternal Order of Eagles, $500.
"We want to thank the Growing O'Neill garden program advisory committee, including Amy Timmerman and Deb Walnofer from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln extension and 4-H, Shamrock Nursery, J&H Greenhouse, The Evergreen, O'Neill Rehabilitation and Care, Dave and Deb Hansen as well as all other community members that have been so supportive with their time and knowledge," said Superintendent Shane. "We hope that the educational greenhouse will enhance the opportunities for actual 'hands-on' ag and environmental education."
OPS Ag Teacher Amanda Horn and Superintendent Shane are also working on a Monsanto America's Farmers Grow Rural Education grant to help with the remaining costs.