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The company implemented the pilot program “Grow and Learn” at the Manuel Fernández Juncos Public School in Juana Díaz and hopes to establish it in other public schools in the area.

Grow and Learn Program

JUANA DÍAZ, Puerto Rico – Bayer Crop Science Puerto Rico announced today the results of its “Crece y aprende” (Grow and Learn) pilot program, which aims to promote interest in agriculture and research in children and youths.

Implemented last semester at the Manuel Fernández Juncos Public School, in Juana Díaz, the pilot program impacted 23 elementary school students and their parents by sponsoring agriculture and sustainability activities on which students could participate as part of their educational curriculum. The program also sought to introduce self-management and sustainability concepts within the family nucleus and create a permanent collaboration with schools in the communities close to the company.

In collaboration with the Manuel Fernández Juncos School Cooperative, Bayer started the program last semester with the module titled "Composting at home". This course taught Kindergarten students how to generate compost at home as a sustainable alternative for environment conservation, reducing the amount of waste generated in the households, which ends up in landfills. Students could also learn about the organisms that are part of the compost ecosystem and help accelerate the process. Also, company employees visited, cleaned, and restored the cooperative's garden's operational functionality to start the project. They were Marivier Rojas, Jonathan David, Jeison Vázquez, Pedro Rivera, and Wilmarie Ortiz. The garden tasks consisted of clearing the cultivation benches, weeding the area, dismantling the shade house, and relocating the tent frames.

Lab Sagrada Familia

In addition to the “Compost at Home” module, Bayer has three additional educational modules for the “Grow and Learn” program: two for elementary school students and one for middle school students. The program at the Manuel Fernández Juncos Public School continues this semester with a course titled “Agricultura en casa” (Agriculture at Home), which will teach students how to create a home vegetable garden, do research and gather information on the process. It also includes a box with all the necessary materials to complete the project.

”...we would like to invite other schools, student cooperatives, and 4H Clubs in the area to evaluate this program for their communities.”

The last module for elementary students, “Ciclo de la mariposa” (Butterfly Life Cycle), is about the developmental cycle of butterflies and how to create pollinator habitats. For middle school students, Bayer has the “Competencia de sustentabilidad” (Sustainability Contest). It consists, precisely, of a competition where students will learn about the basic principles of sustainability and conservation. As part of the course, the students must create a project following the sustainability and conservation concepts learned. Bayer will award the top three contestants.

Mirandas Bakery

“We started implementing this program at a smaller scale to see how it would be welcomed by the school’s community, particularly with online instruction still ongoing due to the pandemic. However, after seeing the enthusiastic response from our participants, we would like to invite other schools, student cooperatives, and 4H Clubs in the area to evaluate this program for their communities”, said Marivier Rojas López, agronomic research specialist in seed production at Bayer Crop Science’s Smart Greenhouse facilities in Juana Díaz.

Of the organizations interested in participating, the Bayer company will be selecting two to implement a module of the program this semester, taking into consideration the needs presented by the school or cooperative, in addition to the availability of company resources. Schools and organizations interested in the “Crece y aprende” program can contact Bayer Crop Science’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bayer4cropspr.