Experiential learning is an integral part of agriculture education ( Cheek et al., 1993 ). This teaching approach, which emphasizes the role of experience in the knowledge acquisition process ( Kolb, 1984 ), is regularly used in horticulture courses
Matthew J. Kararo, Kathryn S. Orvis, and Neil A. Knobloch
consumption. The program was implemented as an authentic experiential learning garden-based school nutrition program offered in third-grade classrooms across Indiana through a collaborative effort between a land-grant university, county extension educators
Anthony LeBude, Amy Fulcher, Jean-Jacque Dubois, S. Kris Braman, Matthew Chappell, J.-H (J.C.) Chong, Jeffrey Derr, Nicole Gauthier, Frank Hale, William Klingeman, Gary Knox, Joseph Neal, and Alan Windham
goals; however, 80% revised irrigation management plans which exceeded goals set during the workshop (60%) ( Fig. 6 ). These numbers are surprising because, as discussed previously, hands-on experiential learning stimulated intention of growers to adopt
Marvin P. Pritts
course content to show students how horticulture is infused in all parts of their lives. To create an environment that facilitates experiential learning, students work in small groups from the very first day of class, including making introductions
Sonja M. Skelly and Jennifer C. Bradley
While gardening is the number one hobby in the United States, elementary schools are just beginning to explore the use of school gardens as a means to enhance classroom learning. School gardens can reinforce classroom instruction by offering opportunities for experiential learning. The benefits of experiential learning allow for a better understanding of concepts as the hands-on approach provides meaningful and tangible experiences. While many teachers have anecdotally attested to the benefits of school gardens, there is little empirical evidence documenting their impact. In Fall 1997, the University of Florida hosted a competition for the best elementary school garden in Florida. Results from a research questionnaire completed by participating teachers indicated that teachers used school gardens infrequently, with the majority using the garden as an instructional tool no more than 10% of the time. Many teachers did, however, indicate that school gardens were used for environmental education (97.1%) and experiential learning (72.9%), and 84.3 % of teachers said that related activities enhanced student learning. Findings also indicate that the teachers surveyed had relatively new gardens and teachers lacked, or were unaware of educational resources to assist with garden learning. This paper describes and interprets the results of the teacher questionnaire.
Albert H. Markhart III
Although the number of students in conventional production agriculture is declining, there is increased interest and opportunity in growing organic fruits and vegetables. Land grant universities need to invest in resources to develop curricula and hands-on opportunities to attract students from varied backgrounds who may currently be enrolled in a number of non-agricultural majors. At the University of Minnesota the student organic farm Cornercopia has successfully attracted students from 12 different majors to plan, plant, harvest, and market organic produce. The enthusiasm, interest, experiential learning, and public relations were well worth the land, faculty, and staff time.
Dan T. Stearns
To strengthen students' ability to solve landscape problems creatively while working in group settings, faculty members in the landscape contracting program at The Pennsylvania State Univ. incorporated experiential learning through the construction of on-campus landscape projects between 1992 and 1994. Collaborative student groups developed landscape plans and built the projects. Partnering with other university units resulted in benefits essential to completion of the projects. Student evaluations were shared between the instructor and the students. The success of these projects has led to plarming future experiential projects.
The Department of Horticultural Sciences at North Carolina State University began offering landscape horticulture students a construction studio in 2002. This unique studio engages students in experiential learning (hands-on) and service learning (client-based) projects while simultaneously applying knowledge they have gained during their university education. Three years later, the Landscape Construction Studio is a model course that pushes students to design creatively, while providing a practical foundation in how ideas transition from paper to reality. Projects embody several learning objectives, including fostering exploration and discovery while raising students' awareness of strengths and limitations of traditional and nontraditional construction materials. In addition, the studio enables the elimination of students' tendency to compartmentalize course work, and encourages students to broaden their understanding and appreciation of the world around them. A typical semester incorporates several smaller projects that introduce students to a variety of materials and lessons in construction methodologies. Projects increase in size and complexity over the course of the semester, leading to a comprehensive landscape design and installation project in which students experience the entire design process. Through this final project, students see how information gained from other horticultural and general classes are applied in landscape design. This presentation will discuss the importance of incorporating experiential learning components to horticultural courses, and the pros and cons of service learning projects. Presentation of best management practices will stimulate discussion among the audience.
Kit L. Chin, Bobby R. Phills, Catalino A. Blanche, V. R. Bachireddy, Yadong Qi, and Kamran K. Abdollahi
Nationally, the urban and community forests are in a state of rapid decline. About 52% of street trees are dead or dying. The average tree life of the urban areas is about five times less than in rural areas. The growing national awareness of the importance and benefits of trees and their role in maintaining a healthy environment magnifies the need for urban forestry training programs. The Southern University Urban Forestry Program (funded by USDA Forest Service, Southern Region) is set up to address the critical need for high quality, user-oriented urban forestry training for minority students, and to bridge the gap between minority participation and national forestry resources, education and management programs. This unique program places major emphasis on experiential learning activities in addition to sound academic education. The four-year curriculum will be centered around forestry, horticulture, urban and community planning and landscape architecture.
Experiential learning is an integral component of successful career preparation for the horticulture industry. The limited-enrollment practicum course through Sparty's Flowers has been taught for 7 years, and accounts largely for the overall success of the retail floriculture program. Structure is built into the course by assigning weekly individual learning objectives and assignments. Students, in turn, develop their own action plans, upon which evaluation is based. Interactive group meetings replace formal lectures for more effective instructional delivery. Knowledge retention is enhanced as lessons are experienced, not only heard and read. Technical hands-on experiences of design, display, advertising, recordkeeping, sales, and merchandising sharpen abilities. Professional skills, such as time management, interpersonal communication, leadership, and creative problem solving are also developed and fostered by all members of the class. Practicum instruction, as an example of effective collaborative learning, allows a creative and realistic approach to teaching horticulture.