(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
Buffalo Island Central senior high students are experiencing the benefits of a new greenhouse on the Monette campus, as they are learning to nurture the 200 new poinsettia plants.
"This is something new for the students, and they wasted no time in getting to know their way around the new greenhouse," agri instructor Bruce Fires said. "They helped me process the new plants and position them first under the water sprinklers, then on to the drip irrigation. The greenhouse is modern in every way with automated systems to insure proper temperature and growth. We plan to sell the poinsettias this Christmas for a department fundraiser.
"The drip system spikes are placed in each plant so the moisture can be regulated. Not only is the temperature of the greenhouse controlled, but the light is as well. Should the system go down I will receive a call notifying me of the emergency defect.
BIC has 90 students enrolled in agri on the senior high campus and 40 on the junior high campus. "There seems to be a lot of interest in agriculture related studies, and no wonder as there is such variety," Fires said. "We are working with the National Wild Turkey Association for innovative youth programs, and hope to involve the Fish and Wildlife as well. ATV and farm equipment safety is always stressed, and we hope to have area speakers address the students throughout the school year."
The new $85,000 greenhouse was made possible by a school grant and private donors. Contributors Russell and Melda Young Strickland, of Black Oak, were on hand last week to tour the greenhouse before the students arrived. BIC School Superintendent George Edd Holland presented the couple with a plaque, which read, "The BIC School District wishes to acknowledge its deepest appreciation to Russell and Melda Strickland for their donation toward construction of this facility."
The Stricklands expressed their appreciation for the efforts made by BIC School to present a well-rounded and versatile educational program for the students.
"It is very important to address the needs and interest of the students," Russell Strickland said. "The need to be involved in a variety of things in order to help them select which field they want to go in after high school is very important."
"It is our dream to open the students' eyes to all the opportunities through agriculture," Fires said.
Nucor Yamato Steel Co. of Blytheville donated three welders to the school for use in the shop building. Other area businesses have expressed the desire to help supply equipment and supplies in the future.
On hand for the plaque presentation was agri teacher Bruce Fires, senior high Principal Homer Craig, Superintendent George Edd Holland and Mr. and Mrs. Russell Strickland.