Monsanto Canada Inc.

Monsanto Canada Inc.
Pembina Trails School Division

Pembina Trails School Division

August 24, 2006 11:00 ET

High School Science Program Receives USD$150,000 Grant from Monsanto Fund

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 24, 2006) - A locally developed science program aimed at bringing the concepts of modern biotechnology to high school students in Manitoba has been awarded a USD$150,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund.

The Agricultural Biotechnology Enrichment (ABE) program - developed by Pembina Trails School Division science teacher, Bob Adamson - was introduced to Manitoba high school students in 2001 and had previously received annual funding through Monsanto Canada's corporate giving program. Adamson, who teaches at Fort Richmond Collegiate, serves as ABE program director and Sheri Mackie, a science teacher at Vincent Massey High School, serves as the curriculum specialist.

ABE's mission is to facilitate the development of an integrated enrichment program that meets the learning outcomes concerning biotechnology as outlined in the Manitoba Citizenship and Youth curricula. The program introduces new and authentic science concepts being applied in medical and agricultural research to high school science students and exposes them to the exciting research, science and career opportunities in the field of biotechnology.

More than 5,000 Manitoba students from several different school divisions within the province have had the opportunity to complete classroom work using authentic, portable biotech footlockers that are made available to high school science teachers as part of the program.

"This grant from the Monsanto Fund gives us the ability to provide new curriculum resources for the high school science program and allows us to expand our existing program in the years ahead," said Adamson. "We will be able to enhance our teacher and youth training component and introduce field trip programs that provide authentic field study for our students. We also plan to develop new resource materials to help students and teachers better understand the potential biotechnology holds for the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, conservation management and increasing and improving food production."

The strength of the ABE program is on its teacher training component and the hands-on application it provides to students in terms of exploring biotechnology concepts with state-of-the-art materials. In recent years, the program has been successful in helping students make a connection between the lab and what happens in the field from a plant breeding or farmer perspective. The program has also been successful in engaging several other partners in the Winnipeg community including teachers, agricultural players such as James Richardson International, and the education and agriculture faculties at the University of Manitoba.

Biotechnology is playing an important role in agricultural production and nowhere is that more apparent than in Manitoba. Manitoba is at the forefront of innovation and development in the field, which is one of the key reasons the ABE program was launched in this province.

"The ABE program connects teachers and students to the science of biotechnology in an engaging and direct manner," said Paul Moreau, superintendent of the Pembina Trails School Division. "By focusing awareness and interest in the field of science and biotechnology, we hope to encourage and prepare our students to explore and pursue careers in this quickly grower sector."

Established in 1964, the Monsanto Fund (www.monsantofund.org) is Monsanto Company's philanthropic arm. It aims to bridge the gap between people's needs and their available resources. Through the Monsanto Fund and its regular corporate giving program, Monsanto Canada regularly seeks out opportunities to support groups or programs with a direct connection to agriculture, providing funding to programs or organizations that focus on science and agricultural education; agricultural awareness; leadership and development opportunities for rural youth; and farm safety.

"We are so very pleased to be able to provide this funding to the ABE program," said Trish Jordan, Monsanto Canada's director of public affairs and coordinator of Monsanto Canada's corporate giving program. "This program has been impressive in its ability to provide students with realistic, science-based exposure to the concepts of modern biotechnology. The field of biotechnology is growing and it touches many aspects of every day life so it is important to expose students to both the opportunities and challenges it presents."

The ABE program is open to all schools and school divisions across Manitoba. Currently, ten school divisions and a number of private schools are utilizing the ABE materials in their high school classrooms.

Contact Information

  • ABE Program
    Bob Adamson
    Director
    (204) 297-7795
    or
    Pembina Trails
    Paul Moreau
    Superintendent
    (204) 488-1757 ext 282
    or
    Monsanto Canada
    Trish Jordan
    Public Affairs Lead
    (204) 985-1005