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04-25-12-ftcc.jpgThe sun is just peeking through the trees that line the banks of the Cape Fear River when Lisa Snyder arrives at Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Horticulture Educational Center. She looks forward to working with the many beautiful plants that fill the 4,000-square-foot green-house and dreams of one day owning and operating her own greenhouse. As a student-employee, Snyder receives valuable hands-on experience. Students in the Horticulture Technology curriculum who enrolled in the Plant Propagation class have spent the semester sowing seeds, transplanting seedlings, rooting cuttings, potting, feeding and watering two greenhouses full of plants while experiencing day-to-day operations of producing and caring for plants that will be placed up for sale. The students are given opportunities to apply what they learn in real-life situations.

Just around the corner, students in the Landscape Construction class are finishing a brick-on-sand walkway and will soon begin constructing a zigzag wooden bridge. Students not only receive class-room material but also experiential learning — they get to practice the skills they are being taught. A few thumbs may get smashed along the way, but even beginners learn how to create the elements used in landscape design. In the Soils and Fertilizers class, students are bent over their calculators computing the amount of fertilizer needed to follow the recommendations from a soil test. Students apply skills they learn in other classes, such as Turfgrass, Greenhouse Operations and Landscape Management.

FTCC’s Horticulture Technology curriculum has a unique partnership with its next-door neighbor, Cape Fear Botanical Gardens, which allows Fayetteville Tech students access to these beautiful gardens and grounds as part of their studies on plants and landscaping. Cooperative projects exist that benefit both the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens and FTCC’s horticulture students.

The Horticulture Technology/Management curriculum at FTCC offers an associate degree in applied science as well as three certificate programs: Basic Horticulture, Basic Landscape Maintenance, and Horticulture Science. Students can complete the AAS degree in five semesters by going to school full time; the certificate programs can be completed sooner. A wide range of individuals enroll in the program. Some students have recently completed high school, while other students are retired military or older adults who seek lifelong learning opportunities. Some students are employed by the companies that sent them to FTCC to get valuable training needed for career advance-ment. The Horticulture Technology program covers most aspects of a diverse field of endeavor, and the program’s emphasis on management teaches students about the basics of business and entrepreneurship.

Careers in horticulture include landscape installa-tion and management, wholesale and/or retail green-house and nursery, retail garden centers, turfgrass manager, private gardener, garden designer and interiorscape technician, just to name a few. Each student receives an opportunity to learn about all these areas and more. In addition, the Horticulture Technology program encourages high school students to participate in dual-enrollment programs available in some schools. FTCC also offers some horticulture classes at no charge specifically for high school students, giving these students the opportunity to earn college credit while still completing high school diploma courses.

Learn more about FTCC’s Horticulture Technology curriculum by contacting me at webbj@faytechcc.edu or at 910-678-8447

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