Botany grows

This year the Heritage botany programs have experienced some major changes. The club has a new sponsor and new members, and the class has a new teacher.

For the past several years, Botany Club has been sponsored by Mr. Brett Wamsley, a science teacher. Last summer he transferred from Heritage to Coal Ridge High School, leaving the Botany Club sponsorless. Club leader Marleena Trail ’16 reached out to Mr. Mike Rudolph, who agreed to help run the club.

“I’m sad that Mr. Wamsley left, but Mr. Rudolph has been doing great!” says Botany member Jake Swartwout ’14.


Rudolph enjoys sponsoring botany club.

“It’s fun to watch the kids working, there is just such a positive energy in the greenhouse,” says Rudolph.

The change in sponsors lead to Botany Club starting several months late, but now it has all of the seeds planted, and the club is doing well.

“The greenhouse is cooler than ever; we have some great new plants this year: we have a lemon plant, a chia plant and more,” explains Swartwout.

Botany Club has also be revitalized with new members. Last year the club consisted of Marleena Trail as president, then Erik Reuter ’16, Jake Kisabeth ’16, Arthur Derksen ’17, Jake Swartwout ’18, and Delaney Trail ’18.

This year the club has more than twice the number of people, welcoming eight new members.

“We can barely fit everyone into the greenhouse!” says Trail. “We might end up splitting into two groups that meet on different days so it isn’t so crowded.”


Botany Class, which also works in the greenhouse, has experienced changes as well. Jessica Ferris started teaching Plant Biology this year, a job normally done by Shelley Hogan who is out for medical reasons. Ferris has new ideas for Botany and attended the last Botany Club meeting.

“The greenhouse is an amazing way to learn about plants,” says Ferris.

Though Botany Club does not meet with plant biology, the students must share the greenhouse and check on each others’ plants.

Ferris’ class has recently planted their seeds, including plants such as herbs, flowers, and vegetables.

“These programs are a great way for students to learn about plant development and how planting is important for future generations,” concludes Ferris.

“I want the kids in the club to learn to love plants, then go on to plant their own gardens one day,” says Rudolf.

The Botany Club hosts a plant sale before Mother’s Day in May. They use the money they earn from the sale to buy seeds and supplies for the next year. Though they had a late start and some big changes, they have hope for success.

“The sale will go on!” says Trail.


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