Environmental Horticulture prepares students for advisory and managerial positions in agronomic, greenhouse, nursery, orchard and vegetable crops. Students focus their studies on plant growth and development and plant protection.
The Environmental Horticulture specialization (Formerly Plant Sciences: Horticulture and Crop Production) is designed to lead students toward becoming an owner-operator or a manager in fields such as: environmental horticulture; greenhouse management; container nursery production; fresh fruit and vegetable production; and plant protection. For students who have a strong interest in education, numerous possibilities for rewarding careers also exist in agricultural extension, public gardens, and ornamental horticulture.
Why Study Environmental Horticulture?
The Green Industry is a vibrant and growing component of local and global agriculture. In the State of Maryland it generates more than a billion dollars in annual sales and continues to increase in value despite continued urbanization. Much of this growth is fueled by the production of horticultural plants in nurseries, greenhouses and on farms. Students have the possibility of developing a career in the production, handling and management of a variety of plants and crops.
The Environmental Horticulture academic specialization focuses on the science, technology and management of fruit, vegetable, flower and woody ornamental plant production. In contrast to the Agronomy curriculum, Environmental Horticulture encompasses a smaller, more intensive scale of cultivation and produces a greater diversity of crops. Environmental horticulturists typically produce non-commodity crops which have a much a higher value per unit land area, but are time-sensitive and require precise postproduction handling and marketing. The goal of this curriculum is to provide students with a balanced approach to science and technology that will enable them to become successful managers of horticultural crop production enterprises. Students receive a blend of classroom and hands-on training in the basic principles associated with commercial production systems. The applied aspects of the curriculum include training in plant propagation, greenhouse crop production systems, containerized nursery production, and the application of high tunnels for extending the fruit and vegetable crop production season. Courses in plant science, soil science, plant protection and food safety practices provide the students with the academic resources to implement the production technologies. Graduates of this program pursue careers in urban agriculture, horticultural enterprises and public education programs. There is currently a growing demand for these graduates in the Maryland’s emerging wine and microbrew enterprises. Students can prepare for plant science graduate programs by taking additional courses in Math and Chemistry. These individuals have been employed in government agencies such as the USDA, FDA and university extension programs.
Students first take a series of campus and department-required courses and then select a series of plant science electives that are best-suited to meeting their particular needs and interests. This open-enrollment major accepts both freshman and transfer students. The department has a mandatory advising policy, and each student is expected to meet with his or her advisor at least twice a year.
During the junior or senior year, students are required to enroll in at least one department-approved internship. Students also take a capstone course to integrate knowledge and engage in problem-solving as team members.
Watch the video below to learn about one of the exciting hands-on opportunities our students get on campus!
Want more information?
Dr. Chris Walsh
Professor and Advisor
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