Monday, October 23, 2006

Horticulture Competition of the Carolinas

HCC Student Frieda competes in the Plant ID exam. Without flowers, this is a real test of plant ID abilities.

There are tests and then there are TESTS! The Horticulture Technology Students Competed with 4 other community colleges in Wilkesboro. The exam based on the North Carolina Certified Landscape Technician Exam was judged by three extension agents with combined experience of nearly 90 years and upper management from two of the largest landscaping firms in North Carolina (New Garden and Bland Landscaping). These volunteers were not only tough-but-fair judges, but potential employers. Talk about pressure... Our students performed admirably in the individual events. The overall title went to Alamance Community College but HCC was the winner in 20% of the individual events.Team HCC. From Left to right (Buddy, Amanda, George, Brandon, Adam, John, Frieda, Dawn, and Julie)

Alamance Community College, Central Piedmont Community college, Catawba Valley Community College, and Mayland Community College also fielded teams. Wilkes Community College hosted the competition as well as competing. Special thanks to WCC Instructors Ron Dollyhite, Donna Riddle, and Wilkes students for all their efforts and work involved in hosting this great academic competition.

HCC Student Adam answers questions on the fly while planting a tree. A competition he would win. The extension agent in the background has been a nursery specialist for 30-years.

The Professional Certified Landscape Technician Exam takes place over two days and has an exhaustive written test along with 22 field exams ranging from plant identification and pesticide application to landscape plan reading and skidsteer operation.
Julie installs pavers during a timed competition. This exam takes an hour. The judge watches and grades the entire time.

The student competition has ten events that are identical to those in the CLT exam providing the students with not only the spirited opportunity for competition, but important preparation for the certifying exam. At least one student received a job offer on sight.

Next year the competition will be held at Haywood Community College. Both Bland Landscaping and New Garden Horticultural firms are extremely interested in judging and meeting more of our students and students from other community colleges. We will also be calling on our local horticultural professionals and extension experts to judge.


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