Annual Battle Ground High School Plant Sale a success, despite pandemic


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.

Cars line up waiting to pick up orders for the Battle Ground High School Plant Sale, which went online this year. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Cars line up waiting to pick up orders for the Battle Ground High School Plant Sale, which went online this year. Photo by Jacob Granneman

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.

Teachers and volunteers have been caring for thousands of plants inside the greenhouses at Battle Ground High School. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Teachers and volunteers have been caring for thousands of plants inside the greenhouses at Battle Ground High School. Photo by Jacob Granneman

“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. 

Orders await pickup outside of Battle Ground High School. This year’s annual plant sale went online only amid the Covid-19 stay-at-home order. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Orders await pickup outside of Battle Ground High School. This year’s annual plant sale went online only amid the Covid-19 stay-at-home order. Photo by Jacob Granneman

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.”

People who placed orders online for the Battle Ground High School plant sale receive a scheduled pickup time, and are directed to a corral where their order waits. Photo by Jacob Granneman
People who placed orders online for the Battle Ground High School plant sale receive a scheduled pickup time, and are directed to a corral where their order waits. Photo by Jacob Granneman

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.”

Teams of staff members, teachers, and volunteers helped move the Battle Ground School District’s annual plant sale online this year. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Teams of staff members, teachers, and volunteers helped move the Battle Ground School District’s annual plant sale online this year. Photo by Jacob Granneman

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.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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