Monticello FFA helps beautify the community

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Monticello FFA took on a new project to close out the school year.

     The students not only planted flowers in the downtown flowerpots, but they also hauled them into place up and down First Street. In addition, they spent an afternoon (when it wasn’t raining) planting flowers in the four giant pots at the intersection of Main Street and Oak Street (Highway 38).

     Typically the Monticello Area Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Club took on the task of planting flowers each spring. Sue Ballou brought the idea to FFA Advisor Eric Schmitt.

     The FFA started planting the flowers in their greenhouse before transplanting them into the pots.

     Schmitt said his two greenhouse and horticulture classes greatly benefitted from this project.

     “They learned about planting, care, production, and design,” said Schmitt. “It all ties in.”

     Before any planting could take place, the classes re-claimed the soil that was stored inside the pots to provide more aeration.

     “That took some time,” recalled Schmitt.

     In order to place the pots in their correction location on First Street, the classes were given maps of where the pots sat in previous years. While placing, Schmitt said people came up to them asking how they could donate to the cause. (Contact the Monticello Chamber at 319-465-5626 if you wish to donate.)

     Now that the plantings are complete, a few of the FFA students will take on the task of watering throughout the summer.

     “The students are used to the plant sales, so they have the skills to take on something like this,” said Schmitt. He said it was the perfect opportunity to incorporate something like this into his curriculum. “It worked out well.”

     Many people donate toward the flowerpot fund in honor or memory of a loved one. Plaques are then affixed to the pot with the person’s name on it. Schmitt would also like to expand the project and have students walk up and down First Street, taking note of the location of each donated pot. A list would be made available to the public knows where their loved one’s flowerpot is located.

     This whole project could have cost a couple thousand dollars, but the FFA was able to save the chamber some money by taking on the project themselves. “It was probably a third of what they normally spend,” said Schmitt.

     Overall, he said it was a great partnership between the Chamber and the FFA. The Public Works Department also assisted by delivering the pots to the high school.

     “I like to think the students will take pride in something like this,” Schmitt said. “Their work is now visibly out in the community for all to see. This was real-world experience for them, apply their skills learned in the classroom.”



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