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Durham College And Parkwood Announce New Partnership

Durham College And Parkwood Announce New Partnership

New horticulture students will gain valuable hands-on experience in Parkwood’s historic gardens and greenhouses. Durham College and Parkwood National Historic Site (Parkwood) announced an innovative partnership that will see them work together to develop and deliver educational curricula for the college’s new two-year Horticulture Technician diploma program, which is offered through the School of Science & Engineering Technology and launching in September 2012.

Developed with support from the Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association (LOHTA), a vibrant association representing over 2,000 horticultural professionals, the collaboration will help Parkwood support and expand its ongoing preservation program; enhance community awareness; pursue partnership grant opportunities; and create additional horticultural jobs while enabling the college to increase placement and co-op opportunities for students. 

“The program is a huge boost to Parkwood’s mission to preserve its outstanding heritage resources and provide quality opportunities for education and enjoyment. Historic gardens and horticultural training are such a natural fit,” said Brian Malcolm, executive director, Parkwood.  “The program is exciting, adding depth to Parkwood’s educational programming and the value of its historic resources and paying tribute to the educational and philanthropic legacy of Sam and Adelaide McLaughlin, through the very gardens they created together. We really look forward to continued collaboration with Durham College in creating a unique and rich learning environment for students.”

The partnership, announced during an event held at Parkwood, will provide students enrolled in the Horticulture Technician program for the 2012-2013 academic year with an opportunity to hone their skills through training and study at Parkwood’s historic gardens and greenhouses in addition to their regular schooling at the college’s Oshawa campus. This includes access to the estate’s specialty plants and collections, period research and more. In addition, Parkwood will provide professional expertise, student lecture and study space and lab settings.

“Durham College’s new Horticulture Technician program is designed to meet the rapidly growing interest in contemporary landscaping, gardening and urban agriculture,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “We are thrilled to be able to provide our incoming students with this training opportunity at one of the finest historic gardens of the 20th century, enabling them to expand their skill sets and gain additional experience in a living lab environment that is unique to college programs in Ontario.” 

The partnership will also see the college provide instructional and human resources to Parkwood in conjunction with the Horticulture Technician program along with opportunities for students to volunteer their time to assist with the estate’s preservation program, which is designed to rejuvenate and preserve the architectural and horticultural features of its gardens and grounds.

LOHTA played a key role in the development of the partnership and the new Horticulture Technician program itself including providing assistance with program development and offering insight into current employer demands. A direct reflection of LOHTA’s support for garden tourism and the key role the association plays in educating consumers about ornamental horticulture, the partnership also falls in line with LOHTA’s support of horticultural activities and community projects such as the ones being carried out at Parkwood.

“We are extremely committed to the development of new programs designed to meet the demands of the current job market while remaining dedicated to delivering the best possible education to students,” added Lovisa. “This new partnership will allow us to work directly with Parkwood’s experts in the horticulture field to develop our program curricula while providing new and exciting ways for students to gain the up-to-date skills required by today’s employers.”

A partnership committee will meet every six months to review the current agreement and determine additional opportunities going forward.
The new Horticulture Technician program, which is currently accepting applications at www.ontariocolleges.ca under the program code HORT, will enable students to experience the art, science and business aspects of horticulture as they work toward becoming professional horticulturalists. Courses focus on arboriculture; disease and pest management; landscape construction; landscape design fundamentals; soil and plant nutrition; and more.