NDHS team wins national ag competition

Photo providedNDHS students took home one of the grand prizes for their butterfly garden project in the Purple Plow Challenge.

GREENSBURG — A team from North Decatur Jr.-Sr. High School has been recognized by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture for their success in a national competition.

The NDHS team, known as Team Butterfly Garden, took home a prize for winning the 2019 Purple Plow Challenge. They will receive a 3-D printer and a $100 gift card for their class.

According to the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, the contest ran from Jan. 1 to May 1.

Through this challenge, students learned the important role pollinators play in our daily lives and how to help protect the various populations.

Following research, students designed, tested and demonstrated a solution that sustained or improved pollinator well-being.

The competition is a free STEM-education platform for middle school and high schools. Students researched scenarios regarding food, hunger and sustainability and built their own prototypes to solve problems, according to information provided by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture.

NDHS agriculture teacher Elizabeth Fry spoke about how she heard about the competition and why she decided to pursue it.

“I found out about the Purple Plow Challenge at an agriculture teacher workshop I attended as a professional development,” Fry said “The session caught my eye because our school is currently researching becoming a STEM certified school.”

The butterfly garden project went hand-in-hand with Fry’s teachings this year. It was the perfect fit, Fry said.

“Each year there is a new Purple Plow Challenge,” Fry said. “This year’s contest fit perfectly into my Horticulture Science standards. The students were broken into groups and used the engineering method laid out by the Purple Plow Challenge.”

Students who participated in this year’s challenge from Fry’s class included Madelyn Bryant, Cameron Burton, Zaven Filler, Philip Fisse, Blake Haley, Abigail Hartman, Logan Haskamp, Lauren Holloway, Clayton Hoover, Andrew Kachur, Katy Kinker, Luke Koehne, Cassandra Kress, Alexis Linkmeyer, Derek Litmer, Chayna McCullough, Desirae Mullins-Dollinger, Nathan Ploeger, Erin Schwering, Regan Westerfeld, Dustin Wietlisbach, and Ayva Wiseman.

Students were broken up into teams of four. The team who brought the grand prize to NDHS this year consisted of Hartman, Kinker, Holloway and Schwering.

Fry lauded her students for their efforts in creating successful projects.

“I am extremely impressed at the work my students put into their projects – most resulted in flower gardens to promote all types of pollinators,” Fry said. “We look forward to seeing them in full bloom. My students really seemed to do well with the hands on approach this project provided. I am very proud of them.”

Contact: Joshua Heath, 812-663-3111 x7401; joshua.heath@greensburgdailynews.com.