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SEPTA and Lincoln High Students Partner Get 'On the Right Track' for the Flower Show

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Press Officer

When students in the Horticultural Academy at Philadelphia's Lincoln High School look at a subway station, they don't just think of mass transit. They envision greenery on the walls that creates an aesthetically pleasing effect and serves an environmentally friendly purpose. "On the Right Track: Going Vertical", an exhibit created by students for the 2012 Philadelphia International Flower Show demonstrates how the plant/subway relationship can be created.

"The project was a conglomeration of ideas which began with the spark from a student's senior project paper," said Karen Kardon Weber, Lincoln Horticultural Academy coordinator. "In all, it took approximately five months from the time that the idea and design were agreed upon to complete the project."

The 20-foot-by-25-foot exhibit brings visitors though the "track area", into a station with lush green walls ("vertical gardens"). The purpose of the exhibit is to demonstrate how plants, growing as part of "living walls", can be incorporated into public spaces not only for decoration, but to also improve our health and well-being."We work on making sure that the topic we choose will give information for visitors to walk away feeling as if they have learned something new and possibly use in their own environment," said Kardon Weber.

Of course, what subway exhibit would be complete without authentic parts? Thanks to collaboration with SEPTA, the Lincoln students' vision has a realistic feel. "We provided items such as turnstiles, signs and system maps," said Ed Wallace, deputy director of station operations and customer service in SEPTA's Engineering Department. "We also offered advice for painting the station and the overall construction."

The students' exhibit is part of the "Major Exhibitors Presentations" at the Flower Show, which will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center now through March 11. Working on the project was a rewarding experience for the students and for SEPTA.

"Along with class credit, the Philadelphia International Flower Show allows for everyone in the program to have a part of something larger than their own space," said Kardon Weber. "Students get to go to the Convention Center and network with people in the horticulture field, attend the Flower Show with thousands of visitors and be part of a Philadelphia and Horticulture Academy tradition."

"This was a great opportunity for SEPTA to partner with Lincoln," said Wallace. "The students are talented and it was neat to see them use their horticultural skills in a project that also incorporated mass transit. SEPTA was pleased to be a part of the finished project."


The Lincoln students' design started with just a sketch.



The exhibit's cashier's booth gets the "SEPTA treatment", with the help of Assistant Director Stephen Kish.



Students assembled the exhibit's frame at their school.



(From left) MCD Ed Nazario and Manager Robert Grayson prepare to install the turnstile.



Lincoln High School horticultural students install the "station'" green walls.