January 15, 2011
Algonquin College’s horticulture program has survived the threat of closure.

In November, the college announced that the horticulture program would undergo redevelopment. A great deal of credit for saving the program goes to LO members of the Ottawa Chapter, along with current and former students, alumni and teachers.

When it was learned in May 2010 that the horticulture program was under the threat of closure, many Ottawa area LO members came forward to protest the move. Several other programs were also threatened, but the landscape industry filled the venue at a public meeting with college officials to discuss the proposals.

Following that meeting, college officials announced they would re-evaluate the horticulture program. Again, many industry members came forward to take part in the process to redevelop the curriculum.

Algonquin had provided a two-year diploma program in horticulture. The college will now offer a 16-month program that includes instruction in computer skills, design, and organic gardening.

One of the main industry members to spearhead the campaign to save the horticulture program at Algonquin is LO’s first vice-president Tim Kearney CLP. A graduate of Algonquin, Kearney owns Garden Creations of Ottawa. Working with Phillip Tuba, the horticulture program coordinator at Algonquin, the group re-designed the program that will be offered in the fall of 2012.

Another new addition at Algonquin will be a 12-week work placement with industry and a mandatory requirement for laptops to help students learn computer-assisted landscape design. The college’s greenhouse will be closed in order to boost the program’s financial viability. Kearney credits the college for responding to industry feedback.