Planting a seed: Local students intent on reviving arboretum

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The development of an arboretum on Southern Wayne High School’s campus has been at a standstill for the last several years, but a group of students in Scarlett Joyner’s horticulture II class is intent on reviving the once thriving arboretum, and plan on turning it into a “rare” edible botanical garden.

The plans are still in the beginning stages for Joyner and her class. The students need around $5,000 to be able to clean up the area. There are several huge tree stumps, dead trees and vines along with limbs that have fallen throughout the years, and students aren’t allowed to operate the equipment that it will take to clean the area.

“We are hopeful that members of the community decide to donate plants because that will help with costs and it will give the arboretum a more personal touch,” Joyner said.

The idea for the new arboretum originated when Joyner challenged her students to work on projects that wouldn’t just last the duration of the class. She said she wanted them to have something they could be proud of and look back on fondly.

“I’ve really been working hard on trying to instill a sense of pride in my kids,” Joyner said. “A lot of times kids get assigned projects that don’t really mean anything much more, but to have these kids come up with this all on their own and for them to be able to say that they imagined this, it means more.”

The ultimate goal for Joyner’s horticulture II class is to provide the community with healthier eating options. Joyner hopes that this arboretum turns into something that the entire community can benefit from and take pride in. If things continue to progress, all of the arboretum will be cleaned out by December and will have plants by the spring.

“If we all rally, we could have this done by end of school year,” Joyner said. “And that would be the most ideal situation.”

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