The popular sale moved online, and quickly sold out
BATTLE GROUND — On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, cars slowly file through the parking lot of Battle Ground High School.
It’s the annual district plant sale, but it looks much different this year.
Instead of dozens of people milling about, browsing the thousands of plants lovingly raised by students as part of the district’s Careers and Technical Education (CTE) horticulture program, the vehicles pull in, a dozen per hour, to pick up orders placed online.
It’s all part of the endless parade of adjustments made in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down schools in mid-March for Washington state.
“We didn’t know at that time how long the stay-at-home order was going to take,” said Cindy Arnold, the district’s CTE director. “And so when we found out the students wouldn’t be coming back at all, we have plants, all in the greenhouses that needed to be sold. And so we just worked with teams of people to make this happen.”
First, a handful of teachers had to step in to care for the plants, which would usually be fed and watered by dozens of students. Then, they figured out how to allow people to order plants online, and schedule to pick them up.
While the adjustment will limit sales to a few hundred transactions, it has been a rousing success.
Battle Ground High School’s Plant Sale quickly sold out. Those orders are being picked up through this coming Saturday.
Prairie High School, which has a slightly larger selection, is still taking orders. Pick-ups there will be going on through May 13.
“The plant sale is a huge part of what our horticulture program does, and the community plays a very important role in it,” said District Communications Director Rita Sanders. “And we are just very grateful for the response of the community and how they supported us this year.”
When people arrive to pick up their order, they’re directed to a specific corral. If they select a hanging basket, they can point to the one they want and a volunteer will get it for them.
“We want to be sure that we’re following social distancing guidelines and keeping everyone safe and healthy at the same time that we’re doing something that is going to benefit our students and our programs,” said Sanders.
“A lot of the people that are coming through have been plant sale people that have come through in the past, and we’re very thankful for them,” added Arnold. “It’s supporting the students and the program.”
Arnold also said the plant sale wouldn’t have happened without the army of teachers, district staff, and other volunteers who stepped up to care for the plants, figure out the online ordering system, and spend their time helping to coordinate pick-ups.
“I mean, it’s literally taken teams of people to make this happen,” Arnold said, while acknowledging that there may be a bit of a learning curve to the process. “This is the first time that we’re doing it. I just really appreciate people’s patience as they’re coming up to pick up their plants.”
For more information, or to order from the Prairie High School sale, click here.