06dd988b-bc1e-4a6e-a753-ee110c2e14adBOSTON, Mass. – More than 600 high school students from across New England made the trip to Boston on Feb. 4-6, 2015, to participate in New England GROWS’ new Future Leaders program.

The Future Leaders program provided high school students with an exclusive opportunity to gain cutting-edge horticultural knowledge, engage with industry leaders, explore the latest equipment and services and become familiar with many career options.

The students’ day began with an orientation session that featured a quick overview of the green industry and guidance from a panel of industry representatives who, along with many other GROWS participants, served as Future Leader Ambassadors.

With Ambassadors’ tips in hand, students fanned out across the exposition and conference to learn all that they could about the green industry in New England.   They attended conference sessions, visited with exhibitors, checked out the Career Center, and spoke with industry members to learn more about their potential career path. Overall, the inaugural program was deemed a success by students, instructors, program sponsors, industry participants and the New England GROWS organization.

After the conference, students were encouraged to write an essay about what they learned from their experience at New England GROWS. More than 50 essays were submitted, program sponsors served as judges and prizes were awarded.  First place went to Quintin McCartney, a student at Essex Technical High School in Danvers, Massachusetts. Honorable Mention was awarded to Brenna Christensen of Wamogo Regional High School in Litchfield, Connecticut, as well as Kevin Witkum of Essex Technical High School.

New England GROWS is working alongside other green industry associations to produce a new “Careers in the Green Industry” video aimed at attracting young people to the field. The film will debut this summer and will serve as a cornerstone of the Future Leaders program at the next GROWS conference scheduled for Dec. 2-4, 2015 in Boston.