When Tiffin Developmental Center's greenhouse workers are in their plant sale from the last week of April until the first week of June, it is difficult for workers to get other tasks done.
Sentinel Career and Technology Center students come to the rescue. In a partnership that has lasted for more than a decade, horticulture students assist with various tasks at the greenhouse.
"We really do need the help this time of year," said Tim Meeker, Tiffin Developmental Center's horticulturist.
Brian Zender, Sentinel's horticulture instructor, said first-year horticulture students visit the greenhouse usually Tuesdays and Thursdays starting around February and continue their visits until May.
Students help with transplanting seedlings, tilling the ground and moving plants from one greenhouse to another.
"They work with the residents," Zender said.
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Instructor Brian Zender (from left), Michael St. Clair, a junior in the horticulture program and at Fostoria High School, and Brandon Garner, a sophomore in the horticulture program and at Fostoria High School, work in the garden Tuesday afternoon.
Meeker furnishes the work for Sentinel students to do.
"They are the best help. ... They help us stay ahead during the spring planting," he said.
Zender said he thinks the students learn a lot of basic greenhouse skills and understand more about how a production greenhouse operates. If Sentinel had a greenhouse as large as the one at Tiffin Developmental Center, students would be stuck there, while assisting at the center allows them to do other tasks, such as lawn care and landscaping, he said.
"(It) makes a nice mixture," he said.
Zender said he thinks the experience teaches his students a lot of patience, and he thinks the biggest thing the work teaches his students is there always is a place for everybody in society.
"You have different capabilities. ... It's a good character thing," he said.
Meeker said it is a good partnership, and Zender is nice, easy-going and good with the students.
"He's very good with our individuals here also," he said.
Brandon Garner, a sophomore in the horticulture program and at Fostoria High School, is among the students who work at the center. He said his favorite tasks are tilling and planting.
"I help plant stuff. ... Right now, we're tilling up the garden," he said.
Garner said he and his father have three riding mowers, and he spends most of his summer mowing yards.
"I work outside every day. ... I do a lot of garden work and lawn work. I take care of a dog," he said.
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