The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

MSP donate hydroponics equipment to Ironwood schools


Richard Jenkins/DailyGlobe

MICHIGAN STATE Police Sgt. Glenn Gauthier shows Michelle Trier, a second grade teacher in Ironwood, a grow light on Wednesday that is part of the hydroponics equipment being donated to the district by the Michigan State Police.


Ironwood - Ironwood students will soon get a chance to try their hand at hydroponic gardening thanks to the Michigan State Police Wakefield Post after the post donated several pieces of hydroponic equipment to the school district Wednesday.

The school will use the equipment to teach students about food production.

"We hope to start raising our own fruits and vegetables for snacks for the children," said second grade teacher Michelle Trier, who helped organize the donation. She said the plan is to initially grow lettuce and cherry tomatoes and later grow perennials to plant on school grounds.

As the equipment, which includes a variety of grow lights, is being set up in the school's elementary science room, it will also likely be used in science experiments.

The school district is also exploring other uses for the equipment beside producing vegetables.

The equipment, which was seized as evidence by the MSP, became available to the school after the case it was related to was completed, according to MSP Sgt. Glenn Gauthier.

"This is a product of (Tpr. Josh Filz's) investigation that he did ... this equipment was seized because it was being used to illegally manufacture marijuana. And then we had to wait for all the court proceedings to finish up and then once that's all done, we have the right to either destroy this property or we can donate it. So we are choosing to donate it to the school and they want the equipment," said Gauthier, referring to another trooper who was also delivering the equipment to the school.

Gauthier said he approached the school last year about the donation and the case has been moving through the legal system since.

The MSP have donated to area schools in the past, Gauthier said, including to the Wakefield-Marenisco School District.

"We have done it before, so this isn't the first time, but it doesn't happen frequently," he said. "When we do have things available, it's nice for us to be able to support the school system and give them the opportunity to be able to do things for the kids that they wouldn't be able to afford."

The donation is approximately $3,000 in equipment, according to Filz, and provides a way for products normally used by criminals to serve the community.

"It started out from something that wasn't being used legally and now it's going to be able to be used to ... educate the kids," said Gauthier. ""Opportunity to turn a negative into a positive."

There is the possibility that the district will receive more equipment in the future as another case works through the legal system, Gauthier said.


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