OTC’s Turf and Landscape students are gaining valuable experience in their career choice by providing local community service.
The students, members of the Professional Land Care Network (PLANET), recently completed an improvement project at the Valley Water Mill Watershed Center on Springfield’s north side.
The group of 22 students planted and mulched around trees, cleared brush from wooded areas for erosion control and put down mulch on about 2.5 miles of area trails near the center.
“It really gives us great practical, hands-on experience. We were able to learn proper mulching techniques, creek gravel replacement and recovering trails that had been covered over,” said Terri Howard, president of OTC’s student chapter of PLANET.
Getting to do the watershed center project was easy, Howard said.
“Our instructor Rob Flatness has contacts and told us about what the center needed. We asked if we could come out to work on it,” Howard said.
The program helped Howard discover that she has a love for trees and tree identification.
“I can remember them and just look at a tree and ID it,” she said.
Howard is now in her third year studying turf and landscape through the College’s agriculture program.
As the new president of the group, Howard has been trying to get the chapter to do more and has some other projects planned. The group last week completed some general cleanup work earlier this month on the OTC Springfield campus and nearby Silver Springs Park, just north of the Springfield campus.
“Next spring, we plan to do some work at the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center in Nathaniel Greene Park. We’re doing more community service. The hands-on experience for us is there to do and whoever we help gets the benefits,” she said.
Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.
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