After more than a year of planning and construction, the new Biglerville High School (BHS) greenhouse was officially dedicated on Tuesday at the Upper Adams School District campus in a ceremony hosted by Biglerville Mayor Phil Wagner, President of Canner Funds. The event was attended by Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and other dignitaries, teachers, Future Farmers of America (FFA) team and community members.
In his address to the attendees, Secretary Redding praised the greenhouse project as a “big deal” symbolizing a continuation of Upper Adams County’s tradition of a strong agricultural culture. “Today’s definition of agriculture is evolving and this project represents a convergence of science, sustainability, perseverance, vision and education”, he said. Redding, who himself is a farmer in Adams County, and an alum of the FFA program, emphasized that agriculture was the “foundation of a civil society” and noted that there were about 130 nations suffering food insecurity.
Redding praised the greenhouse project and the FFA program at BHS as a “gateway to learning and progress”. He thanked Adams County Commissioners, the Upper Adams School District, and the Upper Adams Canner Funds for seeing this project through. He specifically acknowledged agricultural education teachers Scott Howell and Michelle Miller who had been with BHS for over 30 years and were involved with planning and construction of the new greenhouse since last year when the old greenhouse proved no longer viable. Redding also called out the “blue and gold jackets” (FFA team members) and told the students to remember two important words: “I Believe”.
Upper Adams School District Superintendent, Dr. Wesley Doll, emphasized the importance of the new greenhouse in contributing to the local agricultural community and expressed gratitude for completion of this project which he said had been “a permanent agenda item for the district for many years”.
A visibly proud Mayor Wagner revealed a bronze plaque listing the many donors who had made the greenhouse project possible and read out their names. He thanked the community for their “unbelievable support” in raising a total of $190,000 to create a “stellar facility”. Funds raised exceeded the original goal of $150,000 and included a $25,000 Ag and Youth Grant under the PA Farm Bill. Mayor Wagner also announced an additional funds commitment from the Upper Adams School District in the amount of $30,000. He thanked the FFA team members and teachers for their efforts and dedication, including the organization of this dedication ceremony.
Members of the Biglerville Garden Club presented the FFA team with a $1,000 check to support their educational activities.
The ceremony was followed by a tour of the greenhouse, which featured flowering hanging baskets, as well as racks of various plant seedlings that were gifted to the attending guests. The goal is to grow additional plants in the greenhouse, including herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, and hydroponics, as well as other independent study projects.
Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a youth organization that “changes lives and prepares members for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education”. You can learn more about this organization here: https://www.ffa.org/.
Picture Above: Attendees at the BHS greenhouse dedication included (l-r, back row): Upper Adams Superintendent Dr. Wesley Doll; FFA member Carter Mickley; Canner Funds President (Mayor) Phil Wagner; FFA members Ryder Heller and Bearsun Zullinger; ACCF President & CEO Ralph Serpe, and Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding; (l-r, front row): greenhouse project leader and agriculture education teacher Michelle Miller; FFA members Maci Dinges, Courtney Smith, Stephanie Bobo, Brody Gardner, Aleena Scott, and BHS Apple City FFA chapter president Caden Kessel.
Donate Gardner, freelance reporter, came to Gettysburg in 2021 from Montgomery County, Maryland. A former linguist-turned-legal professional, Donate recently retired from the corporate world and is eager to support her new community in a variety of ways. As an immigrant born, raised, and educated in Germany, Donate still maintains a strong connection to the German language as a freelance writer and translator. Donate is an active musician and has made her new home in Gettysburg available to host house concerts for traveling musicians and local artists in need of support. Donate and her husband have two daughters and three grandchildren.