GHS Landscaping Tours Iowa Arboretum
They had to collect or take pictures of the leaves, bark, entire tree, and any berries or nuts on 30 trees. 18 of the trees had to be from the National FFA Nursery and Landscape Career Development Event Tree ID list. They had an easy time finding all different varieties at the beautiful Iowa Arboretum. This field trip is one of the many examples how Ag Ed students are able to get out of the classroom and complete hands-on activities and projects.
The students had an opportunity to speak with the Director of the Iowa Arboretum, Mark Schneider. He explained to the students how the Arboretum came to be and how it is maintained through the years. He also explained to them that the Arboretum is a non-profit organization which means they receive all their funds from private donations and fundraising. He walked the students through how the grounds are maintained by volunteers who are very kind to be willing to do such work.
There was also another mission of the Landscaping students when going to the Arboretum. They have started to design their own mini arboretum in the town of Gilbert, near the FFA garden. This is an example of how project-based learning has been implemented in the department. Walking through the Iowa Arboretum was very helpful for collecting ideas for their very own mini-arboretum. One thing that they took away from their discussion with the Director is that an arboretum is set apart from a park by a mission statement. Mr. Schneider emphasized this quite a bit to the students. The Arboretum’s mission statement is, “The purpose of the Iowa Arboretum is to be an inspiring educational and recreational resource demonstrating the value and use of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in the landscape to all Iowans”. So, the students are working on creating their own mission statement as part of their PBL Mini Arboretum. “We are excited to start working on designing our own mini-arboretum. Mrs. Appel has given us the freedom to design our area however we want. It makes the project more real when my group actually has control over what trees we install and I think it was helpful to see how the Iowa Arboretum has things set up,” said Calvin Stewart; landscaping student.
Overall this was a very educational trip for all the students involved and they are excited to be able to take the information they collected to complete their project and create their very own arboretum.