Field trips to the garden shop at Lowe’s, T-shirt designing and interactive games are a few of the activities youth can expect who participate in Cooperative Extension’s 4-H horticulture judging team this fall.
County Extension Assistant for 4-H and Youth Development Fran Senters will be leading the free program this year, the program’s third. Those interested must be between the ages of 9 and 19 and have a genuine interest in horticulture, Senters said, nothing else is required. All of the materials needed will be provided by the extension office.
The group will be split into two teams, based on age. The 9 to 13-year olds will make up one sector, and the 14 to 19-year-olds will be together in a senior group. Senters will teach her students about the categories they will be judging, such as fruits, vegetables and garden flowers, in hopes of high performance at their Raleigh competition next year.
The horticulture students will meet once a month until May, completing different activities involving a variety of aspects — judging, plant nutrition, turf and landscaping, among other areas as well.
Senters took County Extension Director Kevin Starr’s Mater Gardener class and decided she wanted to lead the horticulture judging course after acquiring her new skills.
She hopes to introduce the participants to the different types of careers there are in horticulture, rather than the few obvious ones they already know about.
“This will show those that think, ‘Oh, well I don’t want to be a farmer,’ that there are a lot of different careers,” Senters told the Times-News last week. “These are people who help provide us our food across the nation; they are very valuable.”
The extension agent hopes to introduce local youth to the various types of crops and plants in the area so they are able to identify them and know why and how they are important.
Those interested don’t have to be a part of the 4-H program, but will be representing the group at competitions. If the senior level group does well in Raleigh, they will move on to judge in Virginia later on in the year. Those interested must register by Sept. 17. The first meeting will be later in the month, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Sept. 25.
For more information, call (704) 736-8452.