Practical way to grow knowledge
A hands-on approach to learning means keen students are honing their horticulture skills in real-life situations.
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) students have been showing off their secateurs skills as they tackle pruning.
But rather than learn the ageold art in a classroom, the greenfingered bunch were let loose on a Blenheim garden, under the watchful eye of tutor Don Cross.
The enthusiastic level 3 horticultural students are among the first to experience the revamped course.
They spent last Saturday bundled up against the elements as they pruned trees, shrubs, hedges and roses.
Cross says the new-look course is geared to immerse students in situations they may find themselves in once they graduate.
‘‘With winter, for the gardener it means pruning time and for these students it’s an ideal opportunity to practice what they have covered in the classroom.
‘‘This practical approach is all part of NMIT’s ‘new look’ and the emphasis is on doing,’’ he says.
Every aspect of the course gives learners a chance to experience new skills, from forecasting the weather by studying cloud formation to making irrigation repairs.
Cross, who has a degree in Agricultural Science from Lincoln University, has spent more than 40 years working in the industry.
‘‘I see my tutoring role as a commitment to education and horticulture. We need this level of dedicated learning to keep the industry up there on the world stage.’’
He says his basic aim is to help students understand ‘‘the why behind the how, so they can make better choices with their horticultural issues’’.
The free course takes one semester to complete and provides an understanding of basic horticulture.
NMIT horticulture student Phil Huston is one of many to get some hands-on pruning experience.