GAINESVILLE – The North Central Texas College Horticulture department will be offering two new degree plans starting this fall.
One will be a marketable skills award in Landscape Design, while the second is a certificate in Sustainable Horticulture.
“A marketable skills award is kind of like a certificate in that it kind of pinpoints and targets a few classes that are absolutely necessary for the industry,” NCTC Horticulture instructor Ashley Hartman explained. “From that, students can kind of stair-step into certificates or an Associate’s degree.”
The certificate in Sustainable Horticulture may be the only program of its nature in the entire state of Texas, according to Hartman.
“Being able to meet the needs of that industry and kind of train those that are entering the ‘green’ industry is really important,” she said. “The whole premise of sustainability is just kind of to take care of our Earth and our land so it can take care of us, not only now but for future generations.”
The program will feature five different classes including Introduction to Sustainable Ag, Greenhouse Management, Naturalistic Gardening, Food Crops and Small Farming.
“What we are planning to do is offer that class at several small farms and the farmers themselves will teach the class,” Hartman said. “Students will be able to go through an entire growing season with the farmers. Everything from planting the seeds, tending the crops, harvesting them and then preparing them for market.”
The marketable skills award in Landscape Design includes three classes.
The first is Landscape Design where students learn how to sketch out their landscaping ideas.
“I’ve had students take just that class in the past and then start their own businesses because it’s such a thorough class,” Hartman said. “There are not only students who want to enter the workforce in that class, but also hobbyists. So folks who just love to landscape and would like to take a class to know what they are doing in their own yards.”
There is also a second-semester class in Advanced Landscape Design, which utilizes computer applications.
“Students take what they learned in the basic class and apply it using CAD programs,” Hartman explained.
The third class is in Landscape Irrigation.
“Students learn all about drip irrigation and sprinkler systems, how to install them and how to plan for them so they can go on and receive their state certification,” Hartman said.
The instructor said that students do not have to take the classes in any certain order. Also, there are no prerequisites and no testing that has to be done to enter the program.
For more information on the Horticulture program at NCTC, contact Hartman at 940-668-7731 Ext. 4488 or by email at email@example.com.