The Environmental Horticulture Program provides our students with experiential learning opportunities within a progressive curriculum, linked with community service, to instill the awareness and skill necessary for productive futures.
This program has been increasing student enrollment, industry interest and collaboration and advisory committee involvement steadily for the past ten years. With over 2500 employers in Northern California, the demand for our students and alumni far outstrips our ability to produce them. Many students enter the workforce prior to completing the program. This fact sometimes leads to problems with enrollment in ‘capstone’ classes, even though annual enrollments average over 450. We currently offer several avenues of education for our students. These avenues are: Certificates of Achievement - Environmental Horticulture - Nursery/Florist Technician - Landscape/Turfgrass Technician Associate of Science Degree - Environmental Horticulture I am in the process of re-aligning the existing offerings and creating some new ones in the areas of Viticulture Production/Vineyard Management and Enology & Winery Management. The Enology Management courses were approved by the Chancellor’s Office and are ready for scheduling in future semesters. The articulation agreement for a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Horticulture with C.S.U. Chico was found to be unnecessary since CSUC folded horticulture into their renamed Crops, Horticulture, and Land Resource Management Bachelor’s Degree. Our transfer rate has been steadily increasing each year. We have sent students to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, U.C. Davis, C.S.U. Chico, C.S.U. Fresno, C.S.U. Humboldt, University of Florida, University of Oregon and others. We are currently conducting research projects in the nursery system in collaboration with C.S.U. Chico agriculture and Butte College Biology students and staff. Our student surveys have concluded that research is high on their list of objectives. Retention is high, considering the industry demand, as a result of strong efforts to create a sense of place and camaraderie in the courses and within the Environmental Horticulture Club and the Student Chapter-California Landscape Contractors’ Association. Hard work by our faculty and technicians to establish and maintain a beautiful and welcoming area helps to hold students here even when they have no classes. This strong sense of place and belonging The Environmental Horticulture Club is one of the most populated and active clubs on and off campus consistently participating in many community service projects year round. New fulltime, tenure-track faculty member Carrie Monlux is co-advising our Hort Club and has created interest in a chapter of the American Society of Horticulture Scientists and is training students for the judging contests. She has brought new links to local agriculture industry with her ties to the Friends of Ag industry/community group. We also have a 91% Nursery Technician who has primary responsibility for the greenhouses/nursery grounds and assisting in set up/preparation for laboratory sessions. Secondary responsibilities include maintaining record keeping and inventory systems, conducting research and grow out trials with other educational institutions and industry partners, researching and procuring new plant materials in the market place for best student exposure, assist club members during plant and floral sales, maintaining customer relations with local nurseries, contractors and home owners that buy our products, soliciting donations and discounts on supplies from leading horticultural manufacturers, attending industry shows and conferences to develop and maintain new and existing knowledge and relationships and assisting with off campus recruitment efforts at high schools and industry shows. She is constantly striving to expand the reach of this program and its supporters. This department’s 91% Farm Technician assists our program primarily with viticulture operations and maintenance. Secondarily, we rely on this technician for the Organic Garden maintenance and development of riparian restoration plant crops for our creek side work. We’re in the process of rehiring this position due to retirement and plan on having the new Farm Technician on board June 1 of this year. Our previous Farm Technician has been a cornerstone in our collaborative effort to develop the Restoration Ecology program. She organized many cross discipline meetings among faculty and worked very hard to bring industry partners together as an Advisory Committee and future employment possibilities. The Environmental Horticulture program will play a key role in the development and success of this new venture as many of the skills required by the employers will come from our classes. The Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Department programs all share three very talented mechanics/fabricators who do all the maintenance on and repairs to our extensive fleet of heavy equipment, trucks, construction and management equipment, power tools and hand tools. This department is recognized for its diversity and depth of equipment and its good running condition because of those individuals. They also devote hours per week to the Welding and Automotive Departments. All five technician positions had their contracts reduced by one month two years ago, an 8.25% cut to their pay. Morale is an issue, but not as much as missing each of these talented, hardworking people for a month each during the year. We grow and maintain living organisms that need constant attention every week. Members of our faculty and staff are actively involved in many professional associations and organizations. California Association of Agriculture Teachers, National Association of Agriculture Educators, California Association of Pest Control Advisors, California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, California Landscape Contractors’ Association, Irrigation Association, California Certified Organic Farmers, Sierra Nevada Golf Course Superintendent’s Association, Northern California Golf Association, Future Farmers of America, Pesticide Applicators Professional Association and California Farm Bureau are some of the organizations in which we maintain service and exposure. We will continue to maintain these vital professional associations within our industry and branch out to others as time and energy allow.
Future Development Strategy
Our program is unique in its wide ranging inclusive processes. We work well with students, staff, Associate Faculty, Advisory Committee members, industry partners, local garden clubs, and professional associations to monitor our courses for adaption to new trends and employer needs.
Supporting Rationale Alignment
Supporting Rationale Alignment
Staff –Associate faculty with the expertise, availability, will and talent to teach in this program are difficult to find and keep as their business demands have increased as the economy has gotten more difficult. Folks that can meet these requisites already have full time jobs in the industry, many of them self-employed. It is asking too much of them to participate in the rest of this plan without just compensation, even if they could find the time. This last year saw some severe difficulties for us that were created by Associate faculty turnover.
Equipment – Many of our existing operating sensors, controllers, greenhouse heaters and other pieces of equipment are worn out and don’t work anymore. Some are forty years old! The other major aspect for consideration is that our current equipment is using far more energy to operate than newer “Energy Star” models would use. Upgrading would support our Sustainability Model for this campus.
We also need to renovate the roofing on the lower lab potting area and the Ls and Rs storage sheds. Since many of our labs occur outdoors, we need a location for students to complete labs when the weather is poor and where students can get protection from the elements. Currently, the roof leaks making it difficult for students to focus on their lab activities as they duck between leaks.
Microscope Model #DC4-456H (Hummert 50-3345-1) $ 679.00 ea
Combination pH/E.C./T.D.S./Temp. meter (42-5005-1) $ 179.00 ea
Electronic Leaf Atmospheric Moisture Sensor (18-6010-1) $ 259.50 ea
CDP/WS Exhaust Fan $ 470.50 ea
AVS-550 Variable Fan Speed Control $ 382.50 ea
Single operator plant carts (6) $ 500.00 ea
Current Revenue Stream
We do make some money with the plant sales from the nursery operations. This will increase as the expansion area comes on line. The completed expansion will double our effective production values. This process has been ongoing for four years as I have had to complete this with volunteer labor, donated materials and meager funds as they became available. Any monies made from the income account go right back out to support materials, equipment and student assistant labor to keep this place afloat.
The District budget allocated from year to year has never met the needs of this program. We have used Perkins funds, along with the District funds to get us through about 3/5ths of each year. We have calculated the enology classes and wine generation could provide additional revenue to our program, making it a self-sustaining program and have changed from organic to sustainable practices in the vineyard to increase yield, thereby increasing revenue.
|Original Priority||Funded||Program, Unit, Area||Resource Type||Description||Account Number||Object Code||One-Time Augment||Ongoing Augment||Supporting Rationale|
|1||Yes||Program||Facilities||Agra-tech Polycarbonate Greenhouse||$88,850.00||$0.00||Need more energy efficient greenhouse to reduce heating and cooling costs while improving plant growing environment.|
|2||Yes||Program||Facilities||HE condensing gas fired heater||$3,100.00||$0.00||Need a new heater in production house for improved efficiency.|
|3||Yes||Program||Equipment||CO2 generator with controller||$1,350.00||$0.00||Improve plant growing conditions.|
|4||Yes||PJrogram||Equipment||Plant mover cart||$1,500.00||$0.00||Need additional cart for moving plant from greenhouses to sales areas.|