Polk FFA students spend immersive week studying horticulture at N.C. State

Polk County High FFA students (from left) Benny McCraw, Clark Phipps and Blake Rackley enjoyed a week at the 2017 Horticultural Science Summer Institute at North Carolina State University

Three Polk County High School FFA students attended the 2017 Horticultural Science Summer Institute in mid-July on the campus of North Carolina State University.

Benny McCraw, Clark Phipps and Blake Rackley were among a group of students invited to spend a week getting to know N.C. State while exploring the many facets of the Department of Horticultural Science. The HSSI students lived in a campus residence hall, experienced campus dining and participated in workshops designed to engage them to the many career opportunities within horticulture.

Students received hands-on opportunities to explore breeding better fruits and vegetables, growing a diverse selection of woody ornamentals, lengthening the life of cut flowers, learning sustainable production and design practices and delving into practical tools that enhance our understanding of plant processes. Students had the unique opportunity to visit farms, markets, greenhouses and gardens and explored college-making decisions and leadership development while enjoying evening entertainment and team-building activities.

The camp provided a close-knit forum for students across the state (and country) to gather together and broaden their interest and knowledge about horticulture and N.C. State. Special thanks to the Polk County Community Foundation for sponsoring Benny McCraw and Clark Phipps and the Tryon Garden Club and Henderson County Farm Bureau for sponsoring Blake Rackley.