When she was a student teacher at the W. B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences, Pam Snyder decided to get her students involved in the PHS Kids Grow Expo (known then as the Junior Flower Show). Thirty years later, she’s still at it—a long-time teacher at Saul and still a regular at Kids Grow Expo.
A full-day event that features horticultural activities and environmental education, Kids Grow Expo is a natural venue for students from Saul, a Philadelphia International Flower Show exibitor and the largest agricultural high school in America. Students at Saul study landscaping, greenhouse management, animal science, and food science along with standard high-school fare. Pam currently teaches classes in retail floristry at Saul, located in Philadelphia’s Roxborough section, and serves as a “teacher-leader” for the 15-person agriculture department.
Pam and her kids have become fixtures at Kids Grow Expo, held each April at Temple University’s Ambler campus. They not only enter their own creations in the horticultural and artistic competitions, but they also run activity stations and serve as tour guides for younger children.
“Being teenagers, my students spend a lot of time trying to act ‘cool,’” Pam said. “But they get so excited about winning a prize at the Expo; it’s nice to see.”
She likes having the Expo at Temple Ambler, with its strong emphasis on horticulture and landscape design.
“It gives the students a wider scope of possibilities for future careers,” she said.
Outside of school, Pam has become an active volunteer for PHS. For the past five years she has served as chair of the Kids Grow Expo Committee. Beginning in November, Pam and the other committee members help PHS’s Flossie Narducci plan the event and choose titles for the competitive categories. She helps with set-up and, along with Flossie, presents the awards. She is also a member of the Philadelphia Green Advisory Board.
Pam firmly believes in the importance of environmental education, particularly in urban areas where many students lack access to the natural world, and she thinks Kids Grow Expo has an added advantage: “I think it’s so important to have that element of creativity and self-expression. It’s a great way to get kids interested and spread the word about horticulture and plants.”
The Kids Grow Expo will take place on April 23 on the Ambler campus of Temple University in conjunction with Temple’s EarthFest event.