STCC Landscape Design and Management Technology program cultivates careers
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – As someone who enjoys the outdoors, Sarah Bahlke found the perfect fit when she enrolled in the Landscape Design and Management Technology program at Springfield Technical Community College.
“I like being outside. I garden at home and have a strong interest in plants,” said Bahlke, of Granby, Mass.
Pursuing an associate degree, she is on track to graduate this fall. “I like that it’s got an emphasis on design, because that’s where I want to go. There are good career opportunities,” she said.
For students like Bahlke, the Landscape Design and Management Technology program creates an opportunity to discover and develop interests in arts, sciences and professional practices within the green industry. Graduates will find themselves in demand for a wide variety of jobs.
“There are more openings out there than there are people to fill jobs,” said Professor Thomas Smith, department chair.
STCC offers three options for students interested in Landscape Design and Management Technology: a two-year associate in science degree, a two-year associate in science transfer degree (designed for students wishing to pursue a bachelor’s degree) and a one-year certificate of completion. For spring 2018, STCC’s Workforce Development Center is offering a Home Garden & Landscape Care course for the novice gardener.
Depending on education level, graduates will be prepared for careers in landscape design, landscape architecture, arboriculture, insects/diseases control, land conservation, turf management, landscape construction, park management, urban planning, horticulture and land management, to name a few popular options.
STCC President John B. Cook said the program helps fill a workforce need in the region.
“This is yet another stellar example of the technical focus STCC brings to our work as educators, and we know horticulture remains a key sector in Western Massachusetts," Cook said.
Opportunities abound within the green industry. With a degree from STCC under your belt, you could be designing. You could be sitting in a greenhouse growing plants. You could take your career in a lot of different directions.Sarah Bahlke, Landscape Design & Management Technology student
The STCC landscape program focuses on two areas:
- Landscape design, which teaches students about outdoor space planning. Students have an opportunity to learn graphics and test their drawing abilities and creativity.
- Managing the landscapes, which involves horticulture (cultivating and maintaining plants, caring for lawns and diagnosing pest and disease problems).
“All of our students learn to draw and sketch landscape designs quite well,” Smith said. “Even those who gravitate toward the landscape management aspect of the program find themselves needing to utilize many of the drawing skills they've gained here.”
The program has two professors – Smith, who teaches design classes, and Jennifer Werner, who teaches many of the management classes. The Landscape Design and Management Technology curriculum combines hands-on work such as planting trees and shrubs and going on field trips with classroom theory.
In one of the first theory lessons, Smith asks his students to think about the front and back yards of homes and how they are viewed as public and private spaces. Many homeowners may spend little time in their front yard, because it is essentially a public space. They may even avoid their back yards if they feel they don’t have enough privacy.
The job of a landscape professional, he said, is to help homeowners – and businesses – improve their surroundings and improve their quality of life.
Smith asks his students: “What can you do to give the people who live at that house a sense of ownership of their yards? What can you do so people can enjoy their yards more? You need to develop a recreational space, a social space in their yards, and give them privacy so they can enjoy their spaces more.
“That’s very hard to do,” he added.
Springfield resident Albert Zachery, who graduated from the landscape program at STCC last year, is planning to transfer to the University of Massachusetts. He dreams of starting his own business after he receives his bachelor’s degree.
“I’m going to continue in landscape management,” Zachery said.
Describing the STCC program he just completed, Zachery said he received a broad overview of landscape design and management technology. He learned a range of landscape-related subjects, from principles of horticulture and tree and shrub identification to turf management, botany, and pest management, among other coursework.
“The program is well-rounded,” he said. “It gives you a nice introduction to everything and touches each subject. It’s definitely valuable.”
Added Bahlke, the student currently in the program: “Opportunities abound within the green industry. With a degree from STCC under your belt, you could be designing. You could be sitting in a greenhouse growing plants. You could take your career in a lot of different directions.”
If you’re interested in applying to STCC’s Landscape Design and Management Technology program or have questions, call Admissions at (413) 755-3333. You can also apply online: www.stcc.edu/apply.
About Springfield Technical Community College
Founded in 1967 and located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, STCC is a major resource for the economic vitality of Western Massachusetts. As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC, a designated Hispanic Serving Institution and an Achieving the Dream Leader College, offers a variety of career programs unequalled in the state. STCC’s highly regarded transfer programs in business, engineering, liberal arts, science and technology continue to provide the most economical options for students pursuing a four-year degree. With an annual enrollment of more than 7,700 day, evening, weekend and online students, STCC is a vibrant campus rich in diversity.
For more information about STCC, visit www.stcc.edu. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@S_T_C_C).
Jim Danko, (413) 755-4812, email@example.com