Wilkes Community College recently hosted the North Carolina High School Landscape Competition (NCHSLC) on February 17th. The event had enthusiastic participation from students at various high schools across the state, including Alexander High School, Apex High School, Heritage High School, Midway High School, Millbrook High School, North Iredell, North Wilkes, South Caldwell, South Iredell, Union Pines, Wakefield, West Brunswick, and West Caldwell.

The event started with workshops on February 16th, where students got a chance to prepare themselves for the competition. The colleges involved included Alamance Community College, NC State University, Sandhills Community College, Southeastern Community College, University of Mount Olive, and Wilkes Community College Agriculture departments.

Donna Riddle, WCC Lead Horticulture Instructor, stated that “The North Carolina High School Landscape Competition (NCHSLC) is an original collaboration between NC State University, University of Mount Olive, and Alamance, Sandhills, and Wilkes Community Colleges. The members of this collaboration seek to expand to additional collegiate partners in the hopes of serving all of our NC FFA regions.”

Riddle also expressed gratitude to the following sponsors for their generous support of the event: Ag South Farm Credit, Bartlett Tree Experts, Belgard, Bland Landscaping, Caterpillar, Country Ridge Nursery, Greenscape, Mountain Advantage Landscaping, Myatt Landscaping and Construction, National Association of Landscape Professionals, New Garden Landscaping and Nursery, the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association, Plantworks Nursery, Red’s Home and Garden, Site One Landscape Supply, Terra Green Precision Landscapes, and Tim Johnson Landscaping. These industry leaders donated financial support and experience in order to make the event free to all students.

Lee Ivy, NC State University Director of Agricultural Institute and Assistant Director of CALS Academic Programs stated, “The NC Green Industry including plant production, landscape design, installation, maintenance, and many allied entities offers exciting and rewarding career opportunities.” Ivy added, “This event was created to bridge the gap between students unaware of these opportunities and employers ready to hire them. As an educator, it is rewarding to watch students commit to the event, surprise themselves by learning new skills, and learn ways to use their creativity and enthusiasm to improve themselves and the world around them. Through partnerships with industry professionals and educational collaborations, this event will continue to advance across NC for many years to come.”