Glass bottles sat on long racks above airplants and succulents. Students dipped seashells into buckets of multi-colored sand and pulled apart moss to put inside their aeriums as a tiny home for their new plants.
Amid all the decorations, pebbles and shells, the students learned what the two dirtless plants were.
“(It’s) a plant that hangs in the air,” said Shaylee Ashton, a sophomore studying family and consumer sciences.
While this claim is also true, the scientific purpose for the name is because these plants get most of their nutrients from the air. Therefore, they can hang in little glass bowls from trees or furniture without any issue.
This activity is one of three hosted by students in the Horticulture 297 practicum.
“At the beginning of the class, you can choose which team you’re in,” said Maralyn Haroldsen, a sophomore studying horticulture who chose to be in the product development team. “I got to help come up with the aeriums and to put them together.”
The first project was a succulent night, and the upcoming activity will be a Bonsai tree event on Dec. 5. The whole class votes and decides what to do for these events based on what has already been done and what’s trending on Instagram or in pop culture.
They take into account everything from the price of the bowls to the plants and all the decorations, and according to David Brooksby, a sophomore studying horticulture, it pays off. With a turnout of around 50 people and $10 a person, they earned about $500 gross earnings.
“What we sell up there is recycled back into the system,” Brooksby said.
Haroldsen said the class goal is to learn how to run a small business.
“Because we also do the plant shop at the Manwaring center, it’s really good to learn how to interact with the people and also the price of things so that you don’t go bankrupt,” said Haroldsen.
Students and families walked away from the event with smiles on their faces and decorated tanks in their hands. Brooksby said this kind of event is an opportunity for the horticulture students to reach out to the community.
“It’s more than just interaction with people over transaction, it’s hands-on, they’re building something, you’re standing next to them helping them,” Brooksby said.