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Public Invited to MCCC Horticulture Expo March 17-18
Participants to Include High School Students From Across New Jersey


West Windsor, N.J. - The Philadelphia Flower Show may be larger, but Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will host a horticulture event that is closer to home - and free! MCCC is the site of its first ever Horticulture Expo from March 16-18, which is expected to draw 300 students from 28 high schools across the state. On March 17 and 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors are invited to view hundreds of entries that will be displayed 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.

Judging will be take place on Friday, March 16. Award winners will be announced in the afternoon. Students will be judged in 30 categories including a live floral design competition in the gymnasium that will last the full morning; spectators will be able to view the competition from the gymnasium balcony. Other categories include house plants, terrariums, dish gardens, bedding plants grown from seed, and themed floral arrangements such as wedding and congratulatory bouquets. The prizes will include Best in Division and Best in Show.

MCCC's Horticulture Program Coordinator Amy Ricco is working with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture to implement and coordinate educational activities that will be offered to students throughout the day on March 16, including talks by national officers and academic workshops. High schools with agriculture/horticulture programs are participating in the Expo, including representatives of the FFA Student Leadership Organization. The list of schools includes Allentown High School-Upper Freehold High School, Northern Burlington Regional High School and South Hunterdon Regional High School.

Ricco says there is a lot of excitement surrounding the event. "We are looking forward to giving these students a chance to display their work and to provide them with a chance to interact with students from other schools who share their interest in the field." The annual event was formerly held at malls, a setting which proved unable to accommodate the pre-event set-up.

Ricco notes that as one of only four community colleges in the state to offer Horticulture and Plant Science degree programs, MCCC is the ideal central location for the event. She adds that visiting students can tour Mercer's extensive greenhouse and learn more about the college's Horticulture Program as a possible college major.

According to Ricco, job prospects for those with a degree in Horticulture/Plant Science are strong. There are openings in a variety of settings, including greenhouse production, golf course management, nursery production, landscape design, and sports turf management. "Students are getting internships, and they are getting jobs," she says, adding that there will be more jobs than students to fill them this academic year. She notes that the growing interest in community gardening and cooperative gardens has bolstered the field.

For directions to the college and more information, visit www.mccc.edu or call Amy Ricco at 609-570-3372.

Detailed descriptions and course requirements for MCCC's Ornamental Horticulture program are available here; information on Plant Science is available here. Or, visit the website here.