North Central High School (NCHS) received 50 Sawtooth Oak trees through a grant from the National Wildlife Federation this spring, providing an opportunity for students to dig in and learn.
“I like that it is hands-on and they’ll be able to see the results of their work in a few years,” said NCHS horticulture teacher George Morrow, who also teaches agriculture power mechanics and turf classes. The trees can grow up to 50 feet at maturity, he said. Within three years, they will grow 6 to 8 feet.
The NCHS administration is very proactive in trying to use natural resources, he explained. The turf class gets practical experience by maintaining many aspects of the school’s sports fields. The horticulture classes use cafeteria waste to make composts, and then they use the compost to fertilize plants. Opportunities like these make students aware of the materials wasted on a day-to-day basis and how it can be used.
The class also sells potted plants from its greenhouse for Mother’s Day presents to surrounding schools. NCHS is the only school with an agriculture program, Morrow said.
He said he would like to apply for another grant to get materials to build a goldfish pond outside of the NCHS library.
Junior Corey Kelly is a fan of the ag program.
“It’s a fun class; Morrow is a great teacher, a really creative instructor,” he said.
Corey said a lot of students in the program who want to study agriculture will benefit from the class because after they study it, they go out and do it.