Horticulture is the newest elective being brought to students at Parsons High School, and its instructor, Kelsey Fabrycky, has big plans for hands-on fun.
She will be teaching her students various aspects of sustainable horticulture, with the focus being on regenerative agricultural techniques. The new horticulture class is being dubbed Viking Farms.
The first big project she has planned is a multiphase project over three years, in which students will transform an unused open courtyard space between buildings on the campus into a native botanical garden space. Fabrycky said the space will provide students and staff a peaceful, beautiful, green space outdoors to relax and enjoy, and serve as a hands-on, outdoor classroom for her students and other classes, too.
To get the project off the ground, Fabrycky has started a fundraiser. Through Oct. 15, the class is selling flower bulbs to plant this fall. The sales are through flowerpowerfundraising.com. The group name to type in on the website is Viking Farms. You can order from anywhere and the bulbs will be delivered right to your door.
With the funds raised, the class will begin the first phase of the courtyard project, which will consist of a prairie area.
The students just started creating a list of native plants.,
“I’m making them include 50 plants, where they include all this information for each plant. The design that we choose, we are going to use that information that they provided on the plants, and we’re going to make plaques to put next to the specimens,” she said.
The student’s final will be to design the courtyard and go into detail with the prairie area. There will also be a pond area and an understory area to be tackled by future students during the other phases, though those overall general design will be done by this first class. Proposals for the design will then be presented for approval of one.
“We will do one area each year and do fundraisers for that,” Fabrycky said.
There will be other aspects to the class as it is built up. Over time they will likely establish some raised beds and she said she may apply for a grant for a greenhouse, allowing students to grow other kinds of food and plants throughout the year.
This first year, the class is only being offered one hour. It is capped at around 17 students, and it was already full before enrollment began, with most spots being taken by students from the Garden Club she started last year at the school. Fabrycky is hoping the class can be expanded in the future to be offered more hours of the school day, allowing more students to participate.
If the community would like to help support the new horticulture program, but they don’t want to order bulbs, donations can be made to the Viking Farms program through Parsons High School.