Planting Solutions with the Next Generation
Over the past few years, we have kept you up to date on Seed Your Future, the “movement to promote horticulture and inspire people to pursue careers working with plants.”
Seed Your Future is trying to make sure the next generation does not lose touch with the plants growing around them, so it has developed ways to engage children in horticulture-related activities and, hopefully, grow future industry professionals.
Recently, Seed Your Future along with educational publisher Scholastic sponsored a contest for middle school students — “Planting Your Solution” — to pique their interest in plants and come up with solutions to the problems our world is facing.
The contest was based on lesson plans and activities created by Seed Your Future and Scholastic, which were delivered to students inside and outside of the classroom. These materials are part of the BLOOM! campaign to educate and inspire young people about the power of plants and green-collar career opportunities.
The student entries included an illustration and an essay describing the environmental challenge and the proposed plant-based solution. A grand prize winner was selected in each of the contest’s three categories.
Eighth-grader Keana H. from Bayard, N.M., was awarded the grand prize for Challenge Identification by sharing her concern that “…smokestacks owned by the nearby smelter have polluted the soil throughout the town with heavy metals.… Even though the smokestacks have been removed … many yards still contain contaminated soil.” Her plant-based solution is to plant sunflowers because “…they aid in the process of phytoremediation, allowing all the heavy metals to enter the plant, leaving only good soil when removed for gardening and healthy grass.”
Now that sounds like the kind of future horticulturist our industry wants and needs.
“Youth have told us that they want to help solve some of the most pressing problems in our world today,” said Susan E. Yoder, executive director of Seed Your Future. “They hear about air pollution, noise pollution, food deserts, climate change, world hunger and more and they’re anxious to do something about it. The students who entered our contest offered inspiring solutions to the problems they see around them. They are our future green-collar workers — and the future looks bright!”
You can read other winning contest entries at http://www.scholastic.com/BLOOM/contest/
To learn more about Seed Your Future, go to www.seedyourfuture.org.