City parks display flowers from HS greenhouse

Thursday, April 21, 2022
Eureka Springs High School agriculture students, from left, Trevor Holmes, Ethan Pierce, Aiden Barker, Alison Smith and Nick Hamrick load plants that were grown by the students and purchased by the Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Department to be used in area parks.
Photo by Adam Louderback

Visitors to Eureka Springs parks this spring and summer will get to see the colorful results of some hard work by area students.

The Eureka Springs Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with the agriculture classes at Eureka Springs High School for the second consecutive year and will plant annual flowers started by the students in city parks.

“We definitely try to purchase from local businesses, and the high school has their plant sale every year, so we wanted at least a portion of our plant budget to support the high school program,” said Scott Miskiel, the city’s director of parks. “The high school has a great program and it’s very worthwhile to support and purchase from them.”

Eureka Springs High School agriculture students load plants grown by the students and purchased and picked up by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to be used in area parks. Loading the plants are, from left, students Ethan Pierce, Aiden Barker, Alison Smith, teacher Jason McAfee and students Nick Hamrick, Keon Reiter and Trevor Holmes.
Photo by Adam Louderback

Colorful annuals were picked up from the high school’s greenhouse to be planted around the city, Miskiel said.

“I’ll tell you, the quality that we see coming out of that greenhouse at the high school is as good as any nursery anywhere,” he said. “Although we are supporting their program, we are also getting a high-quality product, so it’s a win-win.”

Jason McAfee, oversees the school’s agriculture classes and FFA program, said the collaboration with the city establishes a great sense of pride for his students.

“The students have really enjoyed it, knowing they are growing plants for their community, and they can go out and see what they got started,” McAfee said. “It’s a great partnership. Being career and technical education, which agriculture falls under, we have to have community partnerships and the city’s parks department is one of several community partnerships that we have in Eureka Springs.

“Our big focus in agriculture is that the students are learning in the greenhouse but they’re also doing something and giving back to the community, which extends the taxpayer dollars and helps pay the overhead of the greenhouse as well.”

McAfee and Miskiel are hoping the partnership between the city and the agriculture and FFA students at the high school continues to expand.

“In the past we had mapped out some other partnerships as far as the students working and volunteering time in our native plant garden or in the spring gardens,” Miskiel said. “In fact, before the COVID pandemic, we had two or three times a group of students come out and work with us in the gardens”

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