By Corrine Johnston
Plants go through stages of development from seed to maturity. While people and plants are rather different, both plants and people grow. My experience with RISE can be compared to the growth of plants.
Each seed of the dandelion is pushed up through the floret and develops a feathery filament called a pappus. The filaments together look like a white puff ball. At this point, the slightest breeze dislodges the seeds, often dispersing them great distances. If the seed lands in a suitable spot, it will develop into a new dandelion plant.
I wasn’t one of the RISE first years on the second floor. After deciding to study Horticulture, a friend told me about RISE. Seeds need a place to put their roots and so did I.
The radicle is the first organ to appear when a seed germinates. It grows downward into the soil and becomes the roots. Once the roots take hold, a small plant will emerge and eventually break through the soil.
My first RISE experience was volunteering in the Bailey GREENhouse. Right away I knew I had found a place where I could put my metaphorical roots.
When a seed first emerges from the soil, it has a set of two leaves called cotyledons where it gets its nutrition from. As the seedling becomes stronger and healthier, it will form two more leaves that look very different. These are called the true leaves which perform photosynthesis.
My world grew and I grew as a person. When I came into RISE, I didn’t have very high expectations for my life. In RISE, my love for nature was cultivated and a deep passion for the environment, sustainability, insects (especially bees), and organic agriculture formed. I realized I could do something amazing with my life, I could help our beautiful planet and the people (and bees) on it who are in need. I now know I was made for greater things.
“Like a lotus flower, we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world” -Unknown
As a result of RISE, I’ve gained a job in the Bailey Greenhouse and friends I am very grateful for. RISE was the soil that allowed me to grow. In RISE you can grow, and you can grow plants too.
And that awesome picture? Those are my feet.