Mark Baudler, 18, of Fontanelle, Iowa, a senior at Nodaway Valley High School, planned, organized, funded and supervised the construction of a greenhouse for his high school to expand students' hands-on learning experiences in agriculture and science. When Mark heard his agriculture teacher comment one day that it would be nice if their school had a greenhouse, "I realized that I could make this happen," he said. With encouragement from the teacher, his school superintendent, a local seed dealer and his parents, Mark began researching different types of greenhouses and picked a design that he felt would work best.
He then had to figure out how to build the structure and calculate the supplies, utilities and labor that would be required. He presented his plan to his school board, which approved the project after Mark pledged to raise at least half the estimated $60,000 cost. After securing a sizable grant from a national seed company, Mark began ordering building materials and lining up construction, electrical and plumbing contractors. Having raised a total of nearly $35,000, Mark worked over the summer overseeing and helping with all aspects of the construction. "It was a lot of work. There were so many components and so much money to be raised that I felt like I just wanted to quit and find a new project," said Mark. But he persevered, and now his school has a valuable new resource for its students. "I learned to never quit, even when it seems impossible to keep going," Mark said.