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Greenhouse to open at middle school

New Richmond Middle School wants your plants.

The middle school is gearing up to open its greenhouse and students and staff have been working hard to prep the greenhouse - now, they need to fill it.

Teachers Mallory Fredrickson and Kate Geissler, who also coach the school's Science Olympiad team, will be the advisors to the school's new Greenhouse Club.

The greenhouse, which was used by Rachel Sauvola for agriscience classes when the building was a high school, had been used as storage space until now.

The goal for the middle school Greenhouse Club is to introduce students to caring for plants before they reach the high school level.

"The hope is that we can then use less time learning the ropes and more time in action," Sauvola said of the new club.

Along with the Greenhouse Club, the greenhouse will be used by the middle school FFA students, Sauvola said.

Students will learn about interiorscaping and help with beautifying the middle school by placing plants throughout the building and caring for them.

Sauvola said she also hopes the middle school club can help with this year's Prairie Plug Project, which helps re-establish native prairie from seeds that the students started germinating in the greenhouse. Once the plugs are established, the students bring the plugs to Prairie Flats South Waterfowl Production Area, north of Somerset, where they are hand-planted into the prairie. The Fish and Wildlife Service will use the plants to continue to add different species to the native prairie planting mix.

Sauvola said it's her hope that the middle school students can help with that project by caring for the plants once they're germinated.

Sauvola, Fredrickson and Geisssler hope the community will step forward to help get the greenhouse started.

Pots, house plants and plant cuttings are needed to help fill the greenhouse.

"We're literally starting from scratch," Fredrickson said.

The age and size of the plants are not important, Sauvola said.

"The sooner we get the plants in there, the sooner we can get it going," Fredrickson said.

Sauvola said along with the community, many others -- James Karlson, with Baldwin Greenhouse, and Chris Trosen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- also deserve recognition for helping to get the Greenhouse Club started.

"This will be a great learning experience for the kids," Sauvola said.

Not many middle schools have a greenhouse and this opportunity, she said.

"We have the space, it's time we put it to use," she said.

Anyone wishing to donate plants or those with questions are encouraged to contact Sauvola at 715-243-1761, Fredrickson at 715-243-1650 or Geissler at 715-243-1637.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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