BOTTINEAU, N.D. — May is always a busy month for the city of Bottineau, and it is no different for the Horticulture Department at Dakota College. Not only are they getting ready for graduation, they are also finishing the semester, getting ready for their annual plant sale, hiring for summer workers, and managing the Greenhouse and campus high tunnels and gardens.
This last semester was one for the history books. There was a record number of “snow days” where classes had to be cancelled due to the weather. There was also a damaging storm that swept through the state in April and damaged all of the high tunnels on campus as well as some trees. The horticulture program had two graduates while the Ag program had seven.
For the Agriculture program, it was their second year of doing 12-week classes. These classes were made to be 12 weeks so that students could start internships early due to the fact that “many Ag jobs want people to start in the early spring (and) many students have taken advantage of this,” states Linda Burbidge, Agriculture Instructor and Advisor at Dakota College.
For the Horticulture program, it was a very busy semester as they were preparing for the campus gardens, city planters and the annual plant sale. The Greenhouse Manager position has become vacant, so the practicum students became involved in seeding and propagating plants. According to Keith Knudson, head of the Horticulture Department, “It gives them the knowledge and skills they will need when they begin their careers.”
With every school year comes new challenges. For the Ag program, the weather was a big challenge. Not only did students miss class time, but they also had a hard time trying to find a good day to fly drones, and they sometimes had to schedule time outside of their normal classes.
For the Horticulture program, their biggest challenge was and still is filling key positions. The Greenhouse Manager position is not presently filled, and this position is vital in the program because this individual works directly with students to assist in developing necessary skills for their future careers. Hopefully next year will bring some brighter days for the students, staff and faculty. A new year brings new students. With some students returning, they will be able to talk about their experiences at DCB and encourage juniors and seniors at surrounding high schools to consider Dakota College for their higher education experience.
While students may be away for the summer, Dakota College is still busy getting ready for the next school year. The Greenhouse will be busy planting plants around campus and providing planters for the City of Bottineau. Hemp trials will also be taking place on Dakota College’s campus. Linda will be working on developing materials for her new World Food Crops lab. She is also attending a conference in Salt lake City that will provide information and guidance on expanding and developing more curriculum for her drone courses.
— Dakota College