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Published: Thursday, 4/25/2013

Annual plant sale draws crowd at Owens Community College

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Shelly Derkin, of Maumee, browsed the plant selection Wednesday at Owens' annual Spring Plant Sale. Shelly Derkin, of Maumee, browsed the plant selection Wednesday at Owens' annual Spring Plant Sale.
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Early-bird shoppers flooded Owens Community College campus Wednesday for the Landscape and Turfgrass Crew Club’s popular spring plant sale.

Mary Visco, an Owens student, said in spite of rain people were lined up waiting for the yellow tape to get cut at 10 a.m. to go through and browse all kinds of shrubs, rare trees, annuals, perennials, and other items. Most plants were made by Owens students, but some were donated by businesses.

All the proceeds go toward the organization's yearly trip to the Professional Landcare Network's student career day. This past year it was in Alabama, and next year will be in Colorado. If a student works 10 hours to help with the plant sale the school will fully fund the student's trip that costs around $1,000 per student.

PHOTO GALLERY: Annual Spring Plant Sale at Owens

James Foote, an Owens student from Toledo, has gone twice and finished 17th in the nation last year in a challenge to identify plants.

"I was afraid to go at first with traveling to a whole new place but the experience was very rewarding," Mr. Foote said. "We've had a lot of people get jobs from this job fair there if the student wants to broaden their horizon and work outside of northwest Ohio."

Ms. Visco will be graduating May 3, but she has had a job for more than a year with the Toledo Botanical Gardens as a horticulturalist. She is retired and wanted to get a job with gardening and plants. Ms. Visco said the programs at Owens were great in preparing her to get three job offers while still in school.

"I want to tell any parents concerned with their kids getting an associates degree in applied science they can get a job," she said. "[The plant sale] is valuable for all students to learn the business side of things as well as working with the plants."

Instructor Matt Ross said Owens has been holding the plant sale since 2004 and it is the "big, big" fund-raiser for helping students go on their trip.

The sale is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Perrysburg Township campus on Oregon Road. Mr. Ross said they had around 150 people come through by lunchtime today, even with the rain.

"Weather is not the greatest for sales, but the plants love it," said student Adam Sanchez of Toledo.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com or 419-356-8786 or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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