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Elmwood students dig in to beautify school grounds

FFA members, left to right, Taylor Bechel, Mariah Janousek, Max Gereats and Nick Kernstock pose for a picture as they finish fall maintenance. Submitted photo.

In an on-going, hands-on learning activity, Elmwood agri-science students are working with Pierce County Horticulture Agent Diana Alfuth to improve the school landscape.

The most recent achievement is the development of a perennial flower and shrub bed around the district's school sign. The project began during winter 2008-2009 when high school students in horticulture class teamed with Alfuth to develop a design that is easy to maintain, yet attractive throughout the year.

Alfuth spoke to the class about principles of design and plant selection.

Because Alfuth teaches similar topics at UW-River Falls, she is obviously in her comfort zone when presenting to groups about landscape design and plant selection, said Elmwood teacher Jeff Pickerign.

Elmwood FFA members and agri-science students continue to maintain the flowerbeds throughout the year.

Elmwood Alumni covered a significant portion of the material costs that have gone into installing the flowerbeds. Also community members contributed a wide variety of perennial plants.

Elmwood students did nearly all the work with guidance and assistance from Alfuth, Pickerign and parent volunteer Ann Webb.

"We are extremely fortunate to have a wonderful resource like Diana who volunteers time, talent and materials to connect our students with the real world through hands-on, community development projects," said Pickerign.

Those who would like to contribute to the next stage of landscape development at Elmwood Schools may Pickerign at or by calling (715) 639-2711, ext. 6238.

See more photos in the print edition of Oct. 14 Pierce County Herald.