CCBC program provides more than landscaping lessons
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 12:44

New program to train students for green jobs

by Ben Boehl

    CCBC is trying to keep up with the times and is upgrading its horticulture program. David O’Neill, assistant dean for science at CCBC, said with our society becoming greener, there are more jobs available than just landscapers and planters.
    “This whole industry has shifted. We are seeing more environmental horticulture,” O’Neill explained.
    That led to the creation of the Sustainable Horticulture program at CCBC Dundalk.
    A variety of degree and certificate options in the field includes Landscaping Design and Installation Certificate, Greenhouse Production Certificate, Turf and Landscaping Maintenance Certificate, Horticulture Plant Identification and Installation Letter of  Recognition and the Sustainable Horticulture Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.)
    “It focuses on environmental protection and less of a need for fertilizer. It’s a greener kind of horticulture,” said Brad Thompson, interim director of the Sustainable Horticulture program.
  

“There is landscaping maintenance jobs available, but as we look for more ways to save money and saving the environment these kind of people will be more sought out.”
    Thompson gave an example of more demands to have Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings  that include rooftops covered with vegetation, resulting in less rainwater runoff. 
    As more LEED buildings are needed, so is the demand for those in the horticulture field.
    “The focus is to give people a leg up on the new skills to be attractive to employers,” he added.
    Thompson said he thought the country was going to see more of a green economy after President Barack Obama took office. He wants to see the country move away from fossil fuels or else, he believes, there could be more events such as the hurricane last week.
    “How many more weather events do we need?” Thompson asked, though he acknowledged that the storm created an opportunity for horticulture workers.  “Those dunes in New Jersey need to be redesigned.”
    Thompson grew up on a blueberry farm in New Jersey and received his doctorate from the University of Florida, were he later taught before coming to Maryland.
    As CCBC shifts to improve its horticulture program, O’Neill said that Thompson has done a good job on tying up the loose ends as the program transitions to a Sustainable Horticulture program.
    “Brad is very innovative at trying to find things that the industry can use,” O’Neill said.  “He is pretty far ahead of the curve.”