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Taryn L. Bauerle and Travis D. Park

Studies in plant sciences are grounded in concepts aimed to acquaint students with nature through experiential learning. Unfortunately, these concepts easily become diluted in traditional lecture and laboratory-based courses often disconnected from

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Catherine C. Lavis and Laura A. Brannon

, distributors, designers, consultants, contractors, and end users worldwide. The course, HORT 550: Landscape Irrigation Systems, was introduced in the Fall 1999 with experiential learning as the core of the instructional format. An overarching goal of this

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Mary Rogers, Illana Livstrom, Brandon Roiger, and Amy Smith

schoolyard garden movement. Garden-based experiential learning activities are increasingly being used in schools to improve youth attitudes toward healthy foods and exercise, to help develop environmental awareness and enhance academic learning, and to

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M. Haque, M. Baker, C. Roper, C. Carver Wallace, M. Whitmire, S. Zabel, J. Arnold, L. Petty, A. Dabbs, B. Jordan, R. Keydoszius, and L. Wagner

The term Ethnobotany describes the study of people's relationships to plants as foods, fibers, medicines, dyes, and tools throughout the ages. Using the student active technique of experiential learning, undergraduate students enrolled in landscape design and implementation classes at Clemson University planned and installed an Ethnobotany garden in partnership with the South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG) staff, volunteers, and Sprouting Wings children. Sprouting Wings is an after-school gardening and nature exploration program for under-served elementary school students. College students and faculty working on this service-learning project contributed over 1,000 hours to their community while learning more about both the art and the science of landscape design and implementation. Students enrolled in the landscape Implementation class were surveyed to evaluate their perceptions on a variety of possible learning outcomes for this class. Students indicated that their service learning experience with the Ethnobotany project allowed them to acquire and practice new skills, broadened their understanding of the surrounding community, increased their ability to work in real world situations, introduced new career possibilities, gave students a better understanding of their course work, increased their ability to work on a team, increased their knowledge of environmental sustainability, and allowed them to discover or develop leadership capabilities. In a survey question regarding preference for service learning rather than traditional classes, the majority of students prefer the service learning pedagogy. In addition, most students reported a high degree of initiative for this project in their reflections.

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Erin M. Silva and Geraldine Muller

, stressed the importance of hands-on learning experiences ( Trelstad, 1997 ). More recently, Knobloch (2003) integrated the philosophies of Dewey, Bailey, and other key scholars into what he refers to as the four pillars of experiential learning in

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Robert F. Polomski*, Carri Carver Wallace, Mary Taylor Haque, Lisa K. Wagner, James E. Arnold, Amy D. Craddock, Christian Maloney Cicimurri, and Lisa D. Chancellor

An interdisciplinary team of Clemson Univ. faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students partnered with the South Carolina Botanical Garden staff and children from the “Sprouting Wings” after-school garden program to plan and design a 2.5-acre Children's Garden. Imaginative and educational, the plans call for a series of outdoor theme gardens. Proposals for 13 theme gardens include a “Dinosaur Dig”, a “Food for Thought Garden”, a “Hide-and-Seek Garden”, a “Terraced Sitting Garden”, an “Ethnobotany Garden”, a “Wonders of Water Garden”, a “Learning from Nature Outdoor Classroom”, a “Carolina Fence Garden”, a “Cottage Garden”, a “Bold View Butterfly Garden”, a “Woodland Wonderland”, a “Playful Plaza Garden,” and an “Arbored Entrance and Exit Garden.” Project methodology included research, case studies, site analysis, program development, preliminary plans, master plan, and individual garden designs with plan views, elevation drawings, detail drawings, and plant lists. Using an experiential learning pedagogy, a design class of 15 students contributed an estimated 2,000 hours of work while learning about landscape design. Results included 30 drawing boards depicting research, analysis, and design proposals, which were presented to the South Carolina Botanical Garden Staff for approval in Fall 2003. Note: This material is based upon work supported by the cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension service, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2002-38411-122122. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

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Mark E. Uchanski, Kulbhushan Grover, Dawn VanLeeuwen, and Ryan Goss

Real-world science applications such as experiential learning, case studies, internships, externships, field trips, and practitioner interviews are used frequently to enhance student problem-solving skills in the classroom ( Kolb, 1984

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Erin Silva and Connie Falk

New Mexico State University has designed a course in Organic Vegetable Production centered on a working CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm. This project, named “OASIS” (Organic Agriculture Students Inspiring Sustainability), was funded by a 3-year USDA Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) grant from 2002–05. The project has multiple objectives, including: to provide students with a multi-disciplinary experiential educational opportunity; to investigate the feasibility of small-scale organic drip-irrigated farming in the Chihuahuan desert; to demonstrate the CSA model to the local community; and to trial vegetable varieties. The class is co-listed in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business. Recently, the class was adopted in the Honors College and also became part of the General Education (G) program at NMSU. The course meets twice a week during two 2-h class periods. In-class time is divided between lectures, active learning projects, and work at the 0.26-ha field plot. The class content covered by the instructors includes organic regulations, history of CSAs and organic agriculture, evaluating the profitability of CSAs, the production of specific vegetable crops, planting and harvesting procedures, and postharvest requirements. Guest speakers are also part of the regular class structure and have discussed various topics such as beneficial insects, tillage, cover cropping, and weed management. The “living classroom” allows for these lectures to draw upon the experiences of students working on the farm. Although the course presents several challenges, the hands-on experience gained by the students is considered to be invaluable.

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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.

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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