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November 16, 2010 > Cargill helps fund student environmental research

Cargill helps fund student environmental research

Submitted By Joyce Blueford

Melissa Woodside had just started working for Cargill Salt in Newark when she met Joyce Blueford of the Math Science Nucleus. Impressed with their environmental stewardship work in Fremont, she talked with others at Cargill about the group. She was particularly impressed by the use of high school students to perform not only labor intensive work from planting trees to picking up garbage, but the scientific challenges for many students, especially at the Tule Ponds of Tyson Lagoon.

The scientific program hires a select group of high school students to collect chemical and biological data to see if the restoration is working. They meet once a month and examine water samples throughout the wetland. Seasoned interns help train the newer students as they all learn valuable skills from chemical analysis to identifying microorganisms in the water. However, the best part is interpreting collected data.

Ms. Woodside asked how Cargill could help students continue their excellent work. Since interns are paid through a contract with Alameda County Flood and Water Conservation District, the greatest need was to replace some of the sampling equipment that wear out with constant use.

Cargill decided to donate funds for replacements, but also learn about the area and meet some of the students. In early November, a group of Cargill employees from different parts of the country came to Tule Ponds at Tyson Lagoon and volunteered their time to plant trees along a new trail and meet some of the students working on the program.

Jaspin Lin, Stacey Yi, and Joe Chen from Irvington and Malinda Cheung from Mission San Jose High schools met with the Cargill staff and learned how a science background is necessary to help Cargill communicate with their customers. The meeting was very educational for both groups.

Cargill employees were impressed with the cumulative environmental results at Tule Ponds: greenhouses, sheds, and irrigation systems that over 2500 students have worked on over the last 10 years. This area has become an urban forest that sustains local wildlife and a haven for over 100 different species of bird that live and eat. The western pond turtle as well as yellow legged frogs inhabit once barren 17 acres adjacent to the Fremont BART Station.

Locally, Cargill is noted for producing 100% of this country's sea salt in the Newark and Fremont plants. Every fall, salt is harvested from large evaporating ponds. But Cargill is also an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial, and industrial products and services. They provide food ingredients to many food companies. Founded in 1865, the privately held company with 159,000 employees in 68 countries helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental, and social challenges.

Cargill is committed to contributing 2 percent of our global consolidated pre-tax earnings to programs focused on improving nutrition and health, education and environmental stewardship.

For more information on Tule Ponds at Tyson Lagoon, visit the Math Science Nucleus website (http://msnucleus.org).



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