Welcome back to a new school year and another year growing and showing your plants.
In September last year the Orchids In Schools (OIS) program welcomed the newest and first regional school. Woomera Area School – under the leadership of Tony Holden and a willing group of teachers, support staff and students – will all be involved in various ways with growing their orchid collection. They have one shade house operational and a second under construction, so the plants will have good growing conditions to match the harsh Summers and Winters that will come their way. When I went to Woomera last year, Tony indicated to me that they will be attending the Royal Adelaide Show in 2018, so hopefully they will have a plant or two in flower for the schools competition.
The 2017 Royal Show was a great success, with all participating schools attending to take part in the stage presentations. Willunga Primary School was attending for the first time and all six students had a great time.
Kildare College won the Champion School Orchid prize at the Royal Show and Willunga High School took out the Champion School Orchid Display and overall Champion Orchid Display prizes. Both schools set the bar high with these wins but will have to fight off stiff competition from other schools in 2018.
New students are currently receiving the annual hand-out of sample bottles of Neutrog’s Strike Back For Orchids, as well as one litre bottles being distributed for fertilising the school plant collections. Remember that Neutrog Fertilisers are sponsors of the Orchids In Schools program.
The future of the OIS program looks healthy in South Australia and the program has received attention from both NSW and Queensland. It is envisaged that the program will expand over time, as it proves to be both fun for the students as well as educational.
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I wish all participating schools the best for the upcoming growing year.
Trevor Garard, OCSA Education Officer