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North Carolina Dig In at NJHA

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Delegates from North Carolina win accolades in Virginia

From creating festive flower arrangements from the backyard to delving into the details of strawberry production, youth from North Carolina traveled to Virginia to share their favorite plant stories at the 79th annual National Junior Horticultural Association’s annual convention in Williamsburg.  Twenty-five youth and adults formed the North Carolina delegation and brought their best plant knowledge to bear on a series of contests designed to test communication and problem solving skills.  Youth participated in demonstration and presentation competitions, giving talks and showing how to do different horticultural processes like growing tomatoes for market, preparing local foods to make tasty dishes and demonstrating the craft of bonsai.  Many youth attended specifically to participate in the Horticulture Judging Contest, a comprehensive exam that requires youth to take a written test on horticulture fundamentals, judge plants for quality and to identify over 180 different plant species.  The sample to be identified may be a seed, a leaf, a twig, fruit, sometimes even a root and challenges even veteran taxonomists.  The NC FFA team placed first in the country in the horticulture contest, earning a coveted award among their plant geek peers. North Carolina also brought a 4-H team and several individuals to compete in the contest.

Beyond the contests, the NC youth came together to meet new friends from different places across the country, to experience the interesting southern horticulture wonders, and to build relationships that might be a platform for a career in the future. Youth visited the renowned Norfolk Botanic Garden, explored colonial horticulture with special visits by the gardeners of colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown and attended engaging workshops that broadened their knowledge.

Any youth in North Carolina is invited to participate in NJHA activities and should consider participating in state level 4-H presentation program and competing in the annual NC 4-H Horticulture Contest to earn scholarships towards convention registration.  The NJHA 2014 convention is in the Lexington, Kentucky

Questions about the program can be directed to Liz Driscoll, 4-H Specialist, NC State University, NC Cooperative Extension at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 919.513.7346 or visit the NC Grow For It program website at

The North Carolina youth represented the state tremendously by achieving the following awards:

Horticulture Judging Contest, FFA Team
1st Place, North Carolina: Katherine Hassell, Nick Moncla, Caroline Jennings Pasquotank County

Horticulture Judging Contest, 4-H Team
5th Place, North Carolina: Matthew Powell, Schuyler Clarke, Mark Michalski, Johnathan Gay Camden County

Horticulture Judging Contest, Honors Individual
3rd Place, North Carolina: Grace Manzer, Pasquotank County

Horticulture Contest, Open Individual
5th Place, David Lynch, Craven County
7th Place, Anna Venturini, Wilkes County

Horticulture Contest, Individual placing overall
FFA Team, Individual Placing
2nd Place, Caroline Jennings
3rd Place, Katherine Hassell
4th Place, Nick Moncla

4-H Team, Individual Placing
10th Place, Matthew Powell

NJHA National Officer, Secretary: Grace Manzer, Pasquotank County

Artistic Arrangement:
National Award Winners: Silvana Garcia, Lee County

Horticultural Use:
Grand National Award Winner: Anna-Victoria Venturini, Wilkes County

National Award Winner: Nick Moncla and Katherine Hassell, Pasquotank County

Grand National Award Winner: Corbin Griffin, Edgecombe County

Illustrated Talk
National Award Winner: Johnathan Gay, Camden County

Extemporaneous Speaking
Grand National Award Winner: Grace Manzer, Pasquotank County
National Award Winner: Matthew Powell, Camden County

Youth Coordinator
Johnathan Gay, Camden County

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The North Carolina Delegation at Norfolk Botanic Garden Silvana getting ready to do her floral arrangement demonstration Grace showing how to make a windswept bonsai The Wolletts smiling after Will's presentation Will demonstrating how to grow a market ready tomato Schuyler and Mark laughing over the ginger The new tenants in the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg Of course a Unicorn is a great statue to welcome people On her way to plant ID - Silvana finds a celosia Fine folk on the street Where are the rotten tomatoes? Hooray, job well done by all at another NJHA convention Caroline, Katherine and Mark in the blues The Camden County 4-H team! Grace winning GRAND NATIONAL at Extemporaneous speaking