“The Appalachian Trail — The People’s Trail,” the exhibit in the Philadelphia International Flower Show depicting a section of the trail as it goes through Pennsylvania, designed and assembled by Williamson’s horticulture seniors, received a gold medal for having a score over 95.
Instructor Chuck Feld, who has participated in 48 Flower Shows, said “During setup week, the guys came down here and took over, working together as a team. They worked well together and assembled a great exhibit. They deserve the gold medal.
“People don’t realize how much work goes into putting an exhibit together. We are competing in a national show and do well. These students deserve all the credit. They started working on this exhibit one week after last year’s show and worked hard on it for a whole year.”
The 33-foot by 23-foot exhibit, located in the main exhibit area, fits the show’s theme, “Explore America, Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service.” The exhibit depicts a trail going through woods with large rocks protruding from the ground with many small plants and trees. Several large tree trunks rising out of the ground give the appearance of a heavily wooded area.
Because the trail through Pennsylvania is extremely rocky, students purchased the stones from the Poconos. The display also includes such plants and trees as hickory, sassafras, ginseng, mayapple, jack-in-the-pulpit, oaks, azaleas, maples, and many more. A typical trail shelter is also be part of the exhibit.
Students got first-hand experience of what the trail looks like by hiking on it for 10 miles at Wind Gap, Pa. They took many photographs for reference. Further information came from a talk given to them by former Williamson president Guy Gardner, who stopped by Alumni Hall to tell them about his experiences hiking the entire trail several years ago.
Students manning the exhibit during the show said that many visitors commented on how well the exhibit captured the look of the trail. One woman said, “You better have won a gold medal. I’m from Vermont and this exhibit is so authentic. This is exactly what the trail looks like.”
Andy Driver, a hort senior who designed the exhibit, along with Reivon Colon and Norm Lauro, said “Alot of people have come by to look at our exhibit and many of them told us how realistic it looks. I’m happy we received the gold. We put a lot of work into it and I’m glad our exhibit turned out so well. I think our exhibit came out better than the way I pictured it in my mind during setup week.”
Nathan Tulowitzky, a hort senior, said “I’m happy we received a gold medal. Winning a gold medal is a good way for us to go out after our three years at Williamson. We worked well together as a team and everyone pulled his own weight. A lot of people have been coming up to us and telling us how realistic the exhibit is. We all felt pretty confident during setup week that we would do well.”
Joshua Shaeffer, a hort senior, said “As we were putting the exhibit together during setup week I thought we had a good chance of receiving a gold medal, but I couldn’t say for sure because this was my first show. Our main goal was to make our exhibit look realistic and I think we made it look as realistic as possible. I’m happy we won gold because I think we did a good job.”
Hort senior Jordan Shaeffer, said “I’m excited about receiving a gold medal. We put a lot of effort into our exhibit and it would have been pretty disappointing if we had not won a gold medal. Most of the material in our exhibit was pretty heavy and required a lot of lifting. But, we worked very well together as a team and put it together. I think it turned out very nicely. I’m pleased with our efforts.”
The Flower Show, with the theme “Explore America: Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service,” continues daily, ending Sunday, March 13, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 12th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia.