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HOORAY HORTICULTURE: Green thumbs produce greenbacks

April 2, 2013

Whitko Middle School’s Clean World Association is a horticulture club allowing students the chance to work in a greenhouse, oversee growing plants and learn the business of plant sales. Pictured is Emma Neely (left), an 8th grader at WMS, with Issiac Mitchell (right), of Warsaw and club leader Laura Thong-Umphai. Post & Mail photo / Christie Barkley

LARWILL — “You get to get hands dirty.” According to Kaitlin Frank, a sixth grader at Whitko Middle School, that is one of the bonuses to being a part of the school’s Clean World Association (CWA).

The after-school group works as a hands-on club learning the ins and outs of horticulture.

Laura Thong-Umphai, a teacher at WMS, is the groups leader and started the club to give students the opportunity to experience a working greenhouse and learn a viable trade they could carry on into their adult lives.

“This is a skill the kids could choose to have as a hobby or some might choose to start their own business,” Thong-Umphai said. “Either way, they are learning what it takes to grow, maintain and sell plants.”

Last year, the club was able to expand its greenhouse to almost double the size. Having the extra space gave CWA more room to work.

“We’ve added about a 100 flats of plants,” said Thong-Umphai. “It might be more than we need, but it’s really nice to have the room to make choices on what we are going to do and not do. Before we added on, we couldn’t even move. It was just about impossible for us to get anything done.”

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