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Longwood Gardens’ Professional Gardener (PG) Program was recently awarded the American Public Gardens Association’s (APGA) Award for Program Excellence. A national organization representing public horticulture professionals from around the country, APGA awarded Longwood with this honor at its annual conference in Philadelphia in June.
“The award signifies the commitment and efforts of many individuals and partners since 1970, including Longwood staff, administration, instructors, and PG alumni. I believe that the award embodies the mission and vision of Longwood, while representing many of our core values,” says Brian Trader, Ph.D., Domestic & International Studies Coordinator.
The PG Program was nominated for the award by Kris Jarantoski, chair of the APGA awards committee. From there, APGA received letters of support on the nomination from a number of PG Program alumni.
PG Alumni Association President Shelby French wrote one of these letters. A 2002 PG Program graduate, French now serves as greenhouse grower at Mt. Cuba Center in Greenville, Delaware.
“I would not be where I am today without the excellent horticulture training and opportunities I received as a PG student,” says French.
Providing students with practical, hands-on courses and classroom instruction that includes rigorous plant identification courses, the PG Program aims to prepare students for life in horticulture. French believes the PG Program excelled in meeting the criteria for the award.
She says, “The program has displayed a true innovative spirit in the development of new programs,” said French. “There is no other program in the United States which offers a tuition-free education with on-site housing and an education of this caliber.”
Trader hopes that the award brings more publicity to the program, making it easily recognizable. “I believe the award will elevate the credibility of the program and enforce the quality of the education and experiential learning,” says Trader.
“Public gardening is definitely an area in which the PG Program has pioneered. The detail, organization, planning, communicating, and team-work of this program, combined with constant contact with the public has prepared and encouraged the horticulture leaders of tomorrow,” says French.
For over 50 years, Longwood Gardens has trained and educated students in the field of horticulture through its internship, Professional Gardener, and Masters Degree programs. Starting this September, Longwood will increase these educational opportunities to include a variety of other trades.
“The idea was to expand learning opportunities to other areas of the gardens and for other trades besides horticulture. We would like to expose other areas of the gardens, such as facilities, guest services, and human resources to the next generation for learning and educational opportunities,” says Brian Trader, Ph.D, Domestic & International Studies coordinator.
Designed to cater to regional technical high schools and trade colleges, the new Co-op program plans to train and educate students in fields such as masonry, HVAC, mechanics, carpentry, visitor services, and culinary. The program seeks to allow students to work, learn, and build skills for career development, job placement, and college/university admission.
When creating the program, Longwood examined its six departments to identify staff and specific trades in which the Co-op program could offer hands-on, experiential learning to rising professionals.
Longwood hopes to expose students to the many areas of staff in a public garden through the program. “It will showcase Longwood as a place not just to learn about plants, but also to learn how to fabricate metal or create culinary inspirations,” saysTrader.
The program will be piloted this fall. Keep an eye out for further information on this upcoming program by bookmarking the education page on Longwood’s website.
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Meet the arborists and gardeners that care for our trees and flowers throughout Spring Blooms, and see demonstrations throughout our Conservatory and outdoor gardens.
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Get ready for an evening of oohs and ahhs, as Longwood presents spectacular Fireworks & Fountains shows guaranteed to make your summer memorable.
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Registration is now open for our 2013 Continuing Education courses!
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