Education is key to a greener future, and Manitoba just lost its best resource.

On August 25th, Colleen Zacharias wrote an article for the Winnipeg Free Press titled: We need to seed green-collar work about the closing of the Greenspace Horticulture program at Red River College. This program is the one that myself and my classmates are currently enrolled in. It is very special to me as it gave me a second chance at a great new career.Although I still have my graphic, web design, social media, and photography skills, learning about horticulture and the landscaping industry has opened many new doors.We have taken courses in Plant Science, Plant ID, Greenspace Construction and Maintenance, as well as Aboriculture (writing the Manitoba Arborist test), Landscape Design (using Dynascape), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Irrigation, Site Maintenance, and Horticulture Practice in the two Greenhouses recently built for the Notre Dame Campus at Red River College.This course also comes with two co-op terms. I have had the opportunity to work for a local greenhouse as well as been a Gardener at the City of Winnipeg Parks. I now can work with the landscape from start to finish; from spring to fall. I can design a landscape, choose the proper annuals, perennials, and trees (we learned 250 plants), as well as know what to recommend for the soil to amend it, or grass to keep it lush, weed-free, and healthy. Since we were in the greenhouse daily, we had hands-on experience with identifying pests (insects, weeds, and even plant diseases and fungi).

We had the chance to go on many field trips around Winnipeg and Manitoba. Some of the sites included: Behind the scenes tour of Museum of Man, Bois-des-esprits Forest, new Women’s Hospital green wall and green roof, Fort Whyte, Oak Hammock, an all day tour of three of the largest greenhouses in Manitoba, and all of the City of Winnipeg parks for Plant ID.

Plus we had a variety of experts in (landscape business owners, greenhouse owners, Living Prairie museum rep, rep from CFIA/Forestry, Native Plant Solutions, Bonsai club)… especially with the Emerald Ash Bore beetle, this was important. We had no less than three industry experts come in to talk to us about the threat.

Where else can you get this program? Nowhere in Manitoba. So currently, anyone who wants to have an education in any of these fields, they have to leave Manitoba where the program might be different than the Prairie specific one here, as well as the job opportunities would be different as well.

Please help support this program and sign the petition to support it.

Thank you