Botany students compete at states, earn national certification

Ray practicing her gardening skills for the hands on portion of the exam.

Ella-Rose Ray, Alex Lopez, Zander Brown, and Grace Salazar went to Botany States and took the Nursery Landscape Career Development Exam where they finished 2nd.
This exam was a part of a whole event where participants started with the test and then continued to move forward with the hands on part.
“Our team did not score high enough to move on but it was still such an amazing experience to be a part of,” Junior Ella-Rose Ray said.
This test gives students 150 plants, 75 tools, 15 pests and diseases, and basic science questions that they have to show mastery of.
“The test was about two hours long and the test only ended up using about half of the things we were supposed to memorize,” Ray said.
The students started to prep back in September by memorizing all the info they needed to know.
“When we went back to in person learning we did a lot more hands-on stuff and took a break from studying,” Ray said.
Ray also got certified with the Michigan Certified Green Industry Professional Core from taking the test.
As the test got closer they studied all 14 science chapters for the entire class period everyday.
“The days leading up to the competition I didn’t feel 100% confident until the day of. The day of, all the studying and all the time spent I knew I just had to utilize it and give it my best,” Ray said.
This year the test was taken on computers in school, in previous years it was taken on a scantron. The test was also a little shorter this year and covered less material because the students did not have as much time to learn this year due to Covid.
“To get to nationals your team was scored against 20 other teams in our state,” Ray said.
The individual placements were scored against every competitor in the state. A student’s individual score is not what gets them to Nationals, what gets a student to Nationals is their test score. In order to make it to Nationals a student has to score a 75% or better. If students score over a 75% they earn their Michigan Certified Green Industry Professional Core Certificate which can help them get jobs in the industry.
Ray scored over a 75% on her exam and earned her certification.
“I did the best I possibly could have done, and I got second place in the area. We did not qualify for Nationals but I am so happy for my team and so happy I got certified,” Ray said.