Plant a Seed and Watch It Grow

By Sarah Johnson

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Director James Price works with students Elaine Erlenbach and Dana Gould on campus.

Photo Courtesy of Director James Price

“Feed it, it grows; starve it, it dies.” The principle is the same whether the topic is people, plants or a college program of study.

Department Chair, Director James Price, has been with Cumberland County College since August 2011. A Georgia native, Price has worked with an amazing array of projects. What started with small, but respectable numbers in the CCC program, has grown considerably in a short time.

Last year, the program reached some new milestones, with an Agricultural Education trip to Belize in Central America,

wherein nine students, Director Price and Professor Maury Sheets, helped build gardens structures, educate in the Burrell Boom Village, Belize, and introduce new thinking about soil conservations and natural resources. A future trip is planned in 2014.

Last year marked the first graduation of a Salem County Community College student completing a dual study program through CCC. Elaine Erlenbach received her AAS degree in Agriculture in May 2013.

Internship possibilities for the Ag/Hort. program are also expanding rapidly. Spring 2013 saw CCC students interning with Walt Disney World, FL, Clemenson’s Nursery in Estell Manor, and several students interned with the USDA. This year’s options may include select positions with the USDA, Walt Disney World, The US Forest Service, Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, The Houston Zoo in TX, Brooklyn Botanical Garden in Bronx, NY, NY Botanical, Mt. Cuba Garden and Educational Center in De, Winterthur Garden and Museum in PA.

There are three key programs offered: Agriculture, Horticulture and AgriBusiness, with certificates in Floriculture, Horticulture and Landscape. Enrollment this year has increased significantly over last year, by 85%. The students are organizing the first Ag/Hort Club to promote Agriculture on campus and in the community.

The new greenhouse is up and running, with 1700 new plants potted up September 18 and an additional 1200 Poinsettias scheduled to arrive September 25, with anticipated sale dates of December 9-16, 2013.

Currently, dual credit toward classes at CCC is available for high school students attending Buena Regional HS, Cumberland Regional HS, and Delsea Regional HS. This year’s freshmen include dairy farmers, prospective wildlife managers and park forestry personnel, landscapers, nursery operators, potential horticulture therapy practitioners and genetic plant science hopefuls.

“Plant the seed when they are little, and it will grow,” Director Price says, mindful of from where all this ‘love of growing things’ sprouts.

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