Holley girl places near top in national horticultural event

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 October 2014 at 12:00 am

File photo – Rachel Gregoire is shown competing at the Orleans County 4-H Fair in this photo from July with an Australian cattle dog.

HOLLEY – An Orleans County 4-H’er has placed eighth in the country in the National Junior Horticultural Association contest. Rachel Gregoire, 14, of Holley also was part of a team from New York that beat all the other state teams.

Gregoire can identify numerous plants from flowers to woody ornamentals to fruits and vegetables. The national test included 100 samples to identify. Participants were also quizzed in a written exam.

Rachel travelled to Lexington, Kentucky, for the competition, leaving last Thursday and returning home on Tuesday. She competed against more than 50 people in the individual competition.

“There’s not a lot of kids that do it,” Rachel said about the horticultural study. “It’s not like Facebook.”

She said she enjoys learning about plants, and is able to pinpoint them based on their characteristics.

“It’s really useful,” Rachel said about the ability to identify plants. “It’s like detective work. There are so many. It’s been a great learning experience.”

Rachel is primarily coached by her mother, Kellie. They connected with several horticultural enthusiasts from St. Lawrence County while in Lexington.

Rachel is also a member of the Rabbit Raisers 4-H Club. She is a sophomore at the Cornerstone Christian Academy in Brockport.

She can compete in the national events until she is 21. Next year’s event will be in Orlando, Fla. It shifts closer to home in 2016 when it will be at Erie, Pa.