Tuesday, Jan 23, 2018
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Our Town Going Out

Spring plant sale raises money, provides experience for Owens students


Deanna Huffman, left, looks at flowers with her mother Sue Huffman, right, while holding her niece Brezlyn Stevenson, 18 months, during the annual Spring Plant Sale at Owens.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Michelle Keip, a second year Owens Community College student, gave customers information Thursday on different types of trees and shrubs outside the campus greenhouse.

"I've never been on retail, so this opens up another experience for me to share with the public what I know," she said.

It was the Landscape and Turfgrass Crew Club's annual spring plant sale, which was open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and had shrubs, rare and unusual trees, annuals, and other flowers. The sale gave students the experience of running a shop and having to work on customer relations, and it helps raise money for their annual trip for the Professional Landcare Network Student Career Days. Owens is located in Perrysburg Township.

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Last year, the students went to Colorado for the competition with 68 other colleges and universities. Next year, it will be less expensive travel at North Carolina State University.

"Colorado was fantastic," Ms. Keip said. "I helped other students study and competed in wood identification competitions. We saw the Denver Botanical Gardens and their climates and plants."

She tells all the first-year students to get involved and go.

The harsh winter in northwest Ohio kept many of the annuals and other plants smaller than usual, said Chris Foley, coordinator of the landscape program. Prices were cut slightly to try to encourage more sales. The spring sale is usually two days long, but fewer plants kept it to one day.

Part-time Owens faculty member Greg Locher purchases a few roses.

"My roses died during the tough winter, so I needed to replant them and this is close, convenien,t and helps support the students," he said. 

Ms. Keip, who works at the Toledo Area Metroparks, is preparing to graduate. She loves to learn about the trees and shrubs and while she is at her job, she explains all about them. It also helped her sell trees Thursday because she was able to tell customers what looked best in different situations. 

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

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