Field trips, plant walks, a student garden, a second-year internship, and the Winter Lecture Series allow students to further experience the diversity of the horticulture field.
During the first year, students participate in 10–12 field trips to public gardens, private gardens, nurseries, and ecological areas. Field trips encourage students to explore horticultural opportunities, meet practitioners in the field, and learn how horticultural sites function. Trips take place during the week. Food expenses on field trips are not included in tuition.
Plant Walks and the Plant ID Final
Plant walks are designed to help students learn to identify plants based on morphological similarities and differences. More than 20 plant walks and cumulative quizzes that make up 30% of the final plant identification grade are scheduled during the spring, summer, and fall quarters of the first year. Students are expected to know plant families, genus, and specific epithets. The walks also prepare students for the Plant ID Final, an all-day exam given at the end of October in the second year that determines if students can identify the more than 1,000 plants on the Required Plant List. On the Plant ID Final, which makes up 70% of the final plant identification grade, students are asked to identify plants from specimens or samples. To pass, they must attain at least 70% on the Final as well as on the quizzes combined.
The Student Garden allows first-year students to practice what they have learned in the classroom and on rotations. It is an opportunity for students to use their newly acquired skills in a creative manner. Students work cooperatively as a team to design, install, maintain, and dismantle a show garden that measures about 400 square feet. The garden is accessible and is frequented by the public. Students are responsible for day-to-day maintenance of the site, and grades are based on success of display and ability to work as a team.
The internship is designed to allow students to expand their horticultural skills and to work on their professional development skills. Second- year students commence their six-month internships in April and end them in September (total of 1,040 hours). Students are responsible for identifying areas and businesses/institutions that they would like to explore. They must secure approval from the Director prior to starting an internship. The Director regularly checks on the student through on-site evaluations. Upon completion of the internship, students submit a 10-page paper and deliver a 10-minute presentation on their internship experiences. Grades are given for the on-site evaluation, paper, and presentation.
Winter Lecture Series
Held on the third Thursday in January, February, and March, the Winter Lecture Series showcases experts in the field. Topics include diverse disciplines such as native plants, ecological design, and urban farming. These lectures further expand students' knowledge of their chosen fields.