April 15, 2012
Durham College and Parkwood National Historic Site (Parkwood) have announced a partnership to develop and deliver educational curricula for the college’s new two-year Horticulture Technician diploma program.

The program will be offered through the School of Science & Engineering Technology and launching in September 2012.

Developed with support from Landscape Ontario, the collaboration will help Parkwood sustain 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. “We really look forward to continued collaboration with Durham College in creating a unique and rich learning environment for students.”

The partnership 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 the regular schooling at the college’s Oshawa campus. This includes access to the estate’s specialty plants and collections, period research and more. Parkwood will provide professional expertise, student lecture and study space and lab settings.

Don Lovisa, president, Durham College, said, “We are thrilled 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.”  

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

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 horticulturists. Courses focus on arboriculture; disease and pest management; landscape construction; landscape design fundamentals; soil and plant nutrition; and more.