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Focus on the Student Experience: Grounded in Learning

Focus on the Student Experience: Grounded in Learning

Fall 2014

Nov 12, 2014

Students in Fox Valley Technical College’s Horticulture Technician program landscaped an eye-opening makeover for a nursing care community.

Brewster Village, located right next door to Fox Valley Technical College’s Appleton campus, offers short-term rehabilitation, long-term nursing home services, and more. Thanks to the help of students in FVTC’s Horticulture Technician program, the village now offers something else—a special outdoor ambiance for its residents.

As a project management learning experience with hands-on activities, students helped design, plant, and maintain the facility’s grounds as part of a large-scale makeover. “We maintain the village’s annual and perennial flower beds, trees and shrubs, and pot vegetables that individual residents can grow in the facility’s courtyards,” states Jim Beard, FVTC’s landscape architect and horticulture program instructor.

The partnership between FVTC and Brewster Village began four years ago and provides FVTC students with real-world, professional experience. “Once they start working on a project, we guide them to plant what’s needed to make their vision a reality,” says Beard. “We plant about 8,000 to 10,000 plants there every year. It’s no small job, but students learn the value of providing something beautiful that others can enjoy.”

Horticulture student Mason Boucher is currently volunteering at Brewster Village as well. In addition to grounds keeping, he and other students are responding to additional needs to help the residents enjoy a better quality of life. “The residents asked for a butterfly garden, so we planted a variety of flowers such as milkweed, daisies, and cornflowers to attract butterflies,” says the 20-year-old Shawano native. “If there’s something I can do to make someone’s life or stay there better, it makes me happy.”

Miles of Makeovers

The efforts of the Horticulture program students at Fox Valley Technical College are seen throughout the region:

  • Design, construction, and landscape work for a 9/11 Memorial in Greenville
  • Garden installation at Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca
  • Retaining wall and walkway construction at Neenah YMCA
  • Veterans Memorial implementation for White City Park in Kaukauna
  • Courtyard garden redesign and landscaping at Edison Elementary in Appleton
  • Landscape work for Military Veterans Museum in Oshkosh
  • Construction of Green Roof Rest Station on FVTC’s Appleton campus—a gold-award winning project from the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association