PENDLETON, Ore. — Pendleton High School agriculture teacher Kylee Hunt can share various chapters of her family’s stories with three buckets of dirt.
As the students in her crop and soil science class gathered around her in the high school’s new greenhouse, she explained the contents of Bucket A.
The first bucket contained soil from her family’s ranch near Ukiah. Hunt said the dirt was hard and ill-suited for growing crops.
Bucket B had soil from her parents’ home off of Butter Creek near Pilot Rock. The creek flows the way it does by their house because of her grandfather.
“The week when my grandpa first moved in there, he kind of made it go where he wanted it to,” she said.
The contents of Bucket C came from her Pilot Rock home, where she grows alfalfa.
The class was going to plant beans in each bucket and compare it to store-bought soil being used as a control on the experiment.
Hunt later said that she was using small experiments like these to help students grow their data skills ahead of bigger experiments later in the year. Hunt’s experiment faced some early skepticism.
“I’m not going to lie: I don’t think they’re going to grow,” junior Madison Pryor told Hunt earlier in the class.
Hunt later admitted that not much had grown since the start of the school year, an early season cold snap stunting the class’ attempts at exercising its green thumb.
While a new greenhouse can’t always compete with Mother Nature, the facility represents a major upgrade over PHS’ previous greenhouse.
Hunt said the old greenhouse could only fit a few students at a time, making the prospect of giving all students a hands-on lesson in crop science all but impossible.
Senior Joshua Brooks is also a fan of the greenhouse, a fact he displays when he’s one of several students who eagerly waters the greenhouse plants.
Joshua said he loves the serenity of a greenhouse, and he uses his own greenhouse at home to cultivate an international menagerie of plants.
And despite her earlier skepticism, Madison and her classmates — juniors Mackenzie Burke and Natalie Neveau — think the greenhouse might become much more livelier in the spring.
That’s when the various classes and clubs that use the greenhouse will try to use the new facility to their advantage by selling their bounty to fundraise for the school.