Winter Weather, COVID-19 Impact FFA’s Upcoming Plans

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Courtesy of Woodbury FFA/Instagram

The Woodbury FFA’s traditional alumni wreath-making event is just one of many traditional cold-weather events that won’t happen as usual this year due to COVID-19.

Sean Hanley, Ag/FFA Reporter

WOODBURY — Connecticut saw its first signs of snow for the 2020-21 season on Oct. 30. With weather like this, changes arise in the Woodbury FFA.

One of these changes is a rise in sales of FFA winter merchandise, such as jackets and hats, as well as other seasonal items. This change can be supportive to the school because the profits of the sales and the overall graphic designs of the clothing bring attention from the public.

Jorge Pagan Benitez, an agriscience student, is just one of many students who says he’s purchased winter merchandise from the FFA.

The winter weather also affects class activities in a typical year. While weather can often be limiting, it can also pose new opportunities for certain classes. For example, it enables Nonnewaug’s natural resources class to make maple syrup.

However, there are some drawbacks from the weather, such as preventing students from being able to go outside for classes. 

In addition to this, an increase in local COVID-19 cases has caused the school to revert back to full-time distance learning until Jan. 19, 2021. This will take a lot of time away from in-class learning over the 2020-21 winter season. 

COVID-19 has affected more than just hands-on learning, though. It’s also affected traditional fundraiser events.

“It has impacted the holiday plant sale greatly,” said Eric Birkenberger, a plant science teacher. “My class, along with other ag students and alumni, would work hard for one to two weeks preparing the holiday plants and wreaths for a sale that included pre-orders and an actual sale in which customers could come in to make purchases.” 

There is still a plan for moving forward.

“We have modified the event to be pre-order only,” Birkenberger said. “It is now more of a fundraiser and less of an educational event. Even as a fundraiser, we are hoping to make at least 50% of what we would normally have in sales.”

To order in time for the Dec. 5 pickup, visit https://www.woodburyffa.org/winter-plant-sale.

This winter will come with advantages and disadvantages for the Woodbury FFA, as both profits and learning will be largely affected for the foreseeable future.