West Windsor, N.J. – If you don't get to this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show in early March, there will still be a great opportunity to see a wide array of beautiful, creative floral arrangements on the campus of Mercer County Community College. After hosting a hugely successful event last year, MCCC will again open its doors to the community for the state’s High School Horticulture Expo from March 15-17. Participants for this year's Expo include approximately 500 students from 28 high schools across the state.
According to MCCC's Horticulture Program Coordinator Amy Ricco, who is working with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to coordinate the event, students from schools with state-approved agriculture/horticulture programs will travel to the college for set-up and judging on March 15.
Hundreds of entries in a variety of categories will be on display in the skywalk on the second floor of the buildings that surround the MCCC Quad – from the Student Center to the Library to the Communications Building hallway on the college's West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.
Award winners will be announced on Friday afternoon. Students will be judged in 30 categories including a live floral design competition to take place in the gymnasium. Spectators will be able to view the competition from the gym balcony. Other categories include house plants, terrariums, dish gardens, bedding plants grown from seed, and themed floral arrangements such as wedding and congratulatory bouquets. Entries in each category will receive ribbons, with the winning entry receiving a plaque. Best in Division will also be awarded. In the live floral design competition, top individuals and top teams will be recognized.
For community members planning a visit, suggested hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.
Friday’s educational activities for students will include leadership and academic workshops and campus tours. Local participating high schools include Allentown-Upper Freehold High School, Northern Burlington Regional High School, and South Hunterdon Regional High School. MCCC is one of only four community colleges in the state to offer Horticulture and Plant Science degree programs. Students will have the opportunity to visit Mercer's extensive greenhouse and learn more about Horticulture as a possible college major.
According to Ricco, job prospects for those with a degree in Horticulture/Plant Science are strong, including greenhouse production, golf course management, nursery production, landscape design, and sports turf management. "Students are getting internships and jobs," she says. She notes that the growing interest in community gardening and cooperative gardens has bolstered the field.
For more information about the event or MCCC's Ornamental Horticulture/Plant Science programs, click here, or call Amy Ricco at 609-570-3372. For day-of questions, visitors should contact the MCCC Security Office at 609-570-3503.
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