Local students outplant the plant king

ENCINITAS — Ecke Ranch hosted a potted-plant-arranging contest that pitted local
elementary school students against Paul Ecke III, CEO of Ecke Ranch and Laurin Pause,
executive director of Community Resource Center.
Much to the delight of spectators at the showdown March 30, the group of 14 gardening enthusiasts from Paul Ecke Central Elementary effectively trounced Paul Ecke and Laurin Pause, who finished last. Top honors were awarded to Rachel Ullrich, Nick Smith, Joshua Santana, and Valeria Villaseñor. The team got up before dawn to begin its prize-winning efforts.
Prizes included a VIP tour of Ecke Ranch as well as complimentary passes to the Flower Fields.
The plant arrangements designed by the students were so good that Ecke Ranch has decided to include them in their charity plant sale benefiting CRC on April 9. “The years of experience you have doesn’t matter,” Paul Ecke III commented after the contest. “If you have enthusiasm, you can make great plant combinations. These kids arrived at our ranch before sunrise today for the contest, and they took it very seriously.”
Pause added that she was grateful that the students were contributing to an annual charity event that helps CRC. “Seeing kids giving back so willingly is inspiring.”
The innovative gardening project at Paul Ecke Central Elementary connects youth to the process of growing plants and vegetables, and has ensured that every student enrolled there is a green thumb. Paul Ecke III commented that the added benefits of gardening are immeasurable. “The world is fast, and gardening gets kids away from that pace. It’s therapeutic, and connects them to the process of growing plants, fruits, and vegetables.”
Ecke Ranch, normally closed to the public, will open its doors once again to host CRC’s annual charity plant sale on April 9. Items include exhibition-quality blooming plants grown especially for the 2011 Spring Trials. Ecke Ranch donates 100 percent of all proceeds to Community Resource Center, which helps families and children in crisis in the North County Coastal regions.
CRC Garden Tour & Plant Sale Tickets available for $25 at crcncc.org

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