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Garden Club enjoys FFA program

Submitted photos Seedlings thrive in the Mountain School greenhouse as students tend to the plants under the supervision of Program Director Georgann Davis.

ELKINS — Wendy Thurston, Elkins High School agriculture sciences teacher and Future Farmers Association sponsor, presented a fact-filled summary of FFA activities available to students during the April 12 Emma Scott Garden Club meeting.

Thurston is a graduate of University of Georgia and has taught agriculture classes in three states, and is now at Elkins and Harman high schools. She was accompanied by Abbey Hannan, EHS FFA club president, who spoke of her personal experiences and interests in the agriculture field, as she has taken agriculture classes for credit and participated in FFA for three years.

She emphasized that FFA members are given the opportunity to explore many aspects of agriculture and animal science through FFA and to work or volunteer off campus in a setting to match their areas of interest.

Thurston’s powerpoint presentation highlighted FFA activities in which local students have participated, including competitions at the regional, state and national levels involving land/soil judging, equine and livestock judging/showing, floriculture and public speaking.

The FFA has teamed with the Randolph County Farm Bureau to meet with local farmers and to present projects and ag information in public speaking competitions. After successfully completing specific FFA goals, student members can apply for state-level “degrees” and go through a selection process to be considered for the honor.

Judy Guye Swanson presents Elkins High FFA President Abbey Hannan with a $500 scholarship sponsored by the West Virginia State Garden Clubs. Hannan plans a career in wildlife biology.

The local club was honored with the national Gold Star Award in recent years with a trip to Louisville, Kentucky featuring an awards banquet.

Yearly activities include a state convention and leadership conference at Cedar Lakes; a booth at HOFNO; a live farm animal display for county fourth-graders at the Randolph County Fair Ag Ed Day; landscaping and clean-up at their home schools and stretches of highway; maintenance and operation of a greenhouse with produce donated to local food banks; a spring plant sale and kids gardening workshop; as well as recreational field trips for club members. Some of these activities have been curtailed due to COVID-19, but Thurston hopes to continue all of them as soon as allowed.

Garden Club treasurer Judy Guye presented FFA president Abbey Hannan with a $500 West Virginia Garden Club Esther Hinchman scholarship as she was selected from a group of applicants who plan to pursue an environment science degree. Hannan plans to attend West Virginia Wesleyan College in the fall and to begin working toward a degree in wildlife biology.

The business meeting was conducted by ESCG president Pat Meyes who welcomed new club members Georgann Davis, Vickie Keller and Burley Woods. News articles by Linda Shomo and Bobbie Trimboli were featured in the state newsletter, highlighting recent club activities. The annual Plant Sale and Bazaar are planned for May 15 at the Randolph County Arts Center and the Rose Luncheon will be held on June 12 at the Kump Education center. The West Virginia State Garden Club convention will be held at Canaan Valley State Park Lodge on May 10.

Katy McClane reminded club members of the Earth Day celebration on April 22 at Elkins City Park from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and Arbor Day celebrations on April 30 at Davis Street Park at noon and at Glendale Park at 2 p.m.

Emma Scott Garden Club recently donated a 5’ x 5’ greenhouse to Elkins Mountain School’s Horticulture and Design Club, a group sponsored by ESGC since 2016 and organized by Bobbi Trimboli.

Georgann Davis, Elkins Mountain School employee and Horticulture Club sponsor, reported on the greenhouse project at the school financed by the ESGC. The students are working hard and have produced a variety of seedlings to plant on their campus.

ESCG coordinator Bobbi Trimboli reported that upcoming virtual classes on soil sampling by Tucker County Extension agent Jesica Streets and hay bale gardening by Donna Isner are planned for upcoming Horticulture Club meetings.

The nominating committee for new ESGC officers presented its picks: president — Linda Shomo; vice president — Judy Guye Swanson; recording secretary — Becky Amorese; corresponding secretary — Joann Bright; and treasurer — BJ McKenzie. Nominations were unanimously approved.

Refreshments prepared by Becky Amorese and Lucinda Barrick were enjoyed by club members.

In March, Mountain School students participated in seed starting during a Zoom meeting led by ESGC member Sara Phares,who gathered equipment and supplies for set up and operation of the greenhouse.

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