Donor Spotlight

Donor Spotlight

Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary | Generosity rooted in pride, remembrance, dedication to home

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Grant Stories

Tuscarawas County | New Philadelphia City Schools

There is much more to a forest than the trees! 

GrantStoryHigh school biology students became kindergarten and first grade teachers through a grant from FAO. These New Philadelphia City high school students helped turn the youngest students in their community into scientists. Using hands-on experience and inquiry-based activities, the students – from youngest to oldest – discovered the wonders of their local forests.

Research activities and creative writing allowed high school students to learn about the lifecycle of forests and the animals that depend on local forests to survive. With this knowledge the high school students wrote and illustrated children’s stories based on those species. The high school students then took groups of kindergarten and first grade students on a field trip to their local forest. While on the trip, the students hiked into the forest where the high school students read several of their stories to the kindergarten and first grade students. Afterward, the students spent time searching the forest for all the species covered in the stories.

New Philadelphia City Schools received a $1,280 grant for 330 high school, kindergarten, and first grade students from the AEP Access to Environmental Education Fund to engage in collaborative, authentic studies of their local forest. The students not only used the opportunity to learn more about their local environment, but to connect across ages and schools.

Monroe County | River Elementary School
Trading Recess for Microscopes

Student Group PictureLaura Dotterer’s students skipped recess to spend time in her science lab. These sixth graders had the science bug and were taking every opportunity they could find – before class, at recess, and after school – to experiment and learn in her classroom. This enthusiasm was awakened because of a grant from the Statoil Monroe County Energy Fund grant at FAO.

Returning to the classroom after a hiatus, Ms. Dotterer was stunned by the absence of necessary science lab equipment for hands-on science learning in her River Elementary classroom. She began spending $150 to $250 per month of her own salary on lab materials, but she knew she needed to find another way for her students to have the experience and resources they needed to learn.

That’s when she discovered the Statoil Monroe County Energy Fund at FAO. The fund supports projects in Monroe County that make positive contributions to the community to increase quality of life, create access to opportunities, and identify or implement solutions to community needs or issues. Ms. Dotterer’s “Build A Lab” initiative was one of these opportunities, supported by a $5,000 grant.

The grant built upon donations from local businesses which made it possible for Ms. Dotterer and a fellow teacher to buy microscopes and other materials for hands-on science labs covering magnets, matter, and energy for a classroom of students. Ms. Dotterer and her colleagues look forward to expanding the “Build A Lab” initiative in the future to ensure that students at River Elementary receive the science education they deserve.

For more information on the Statoil Monroe County Energy Fund, or ways you can support projects like Ms. Dotterer’s, please visit