I am in Ruskin Florida working for the company Ag Reserves Inc. with Deseret Farms of Ruskin. They have around 680 acres of Citrus consisting of two varieties of juice oranges, Valencia and Hamlin. The majority of my time has been spent caring for these trees. The citrus industry is being plagued by a disease called Greening. It is spread through psyllids feeding on the leaves and it affects the overall development of the tree. The tree loses 30% of its root system, the leaves are smaller and yellow colored, the fruit is small, discolored, and low in pound solids and sugars. There is no cure for this disease so I've been experimenting with different fertilizers and heat treatment to try to push the disease back into the roots. That would allow the tree to grow unhindered for a few years before the disease migrates back into the leaves. Along with that I've learned how to operate a backhoe, tractor, and fertilizer spreader.
Monika Hawker, a recent floral design graduate, did her internship at Kalaheo Flowers and Gardens in Kalaheo, HI. Every day she woke up and began working on the daily orders which consisted of different client accounts at some of the hotels and resorts in Poipu, which is a tourist area of the island. Kalaheo Flowers and Gardens makes floral designs for every new guest that comes to the hotel Koa Kea each day, and they would also do lobby pieces for a few different hotels on top of any other orders that they received; although they mainly focused on the hotels and resorts. Some of Monika's time was spent working on the farm as well. The farm consisted of 15 acres of different tropical flowers, Norfolk pines (which they sell during Christmas), Macadamia nut trees, pineapples, and other assorted fruit trees. During the day, and throughout the mornings, Monika would help harvest flowers, greens, and any other products that they needed for that day. Every Tuesday an employee came and would do a giant harvest that would help them out greatly for the week so they didn't have to go out and get massive amounts of flowers, only just a few as they ran out during the day. While she was there she lived with her boss and their family. “They are an amazing family!” Monika said she learned so much while she was there "especially since at BYU-I we don't get the opportunity very often to work with tropical species. I would say some of the best things that I took from my internship were first, a great cultural experience. I know Kauai is not foreign by any means, but the family I worked for is mainly Japanese, and the island itself has a very distinct culture. It was so fun to get more exposure to different cultural aspects of things. Second, I learned how to work with tropical flowers which does give me an edge when looking for a job because you have been taught how to work with not only mainland flowers, but tropical species as well. Third, I really learned how a floral business ran. There were times when I would be at the shop, in town, or up at the farm working by myself. It gave me a better sense of responsibility and knowledge about what the ups and downs to run a floral business are and how to handle them. Overall it was an amazing experience that I would love to go back and do again sometime! Hopefully sooner than later! For anyone in the future who gets the opportunity to work here my only advice would be to be prepared to work hard, get a little dirty and have a blast!" She said that this internship she did “is perfect for those who don't mind working hard and big cockroaches!” Monika wishes the best of luck to all students on any of their internships.
Picture Perfect Construction has been hard at work for the last 20 years in the greater Los Angeles, CA area. They offer design, maintenance, and construction services, focusing on high-end residential and commercial properties in area like Bel Air and Hollywood. Picture Perfect Construction strives to keep all parts of the project within their company to keep accountability of the whole project on them. They pride themselves on working with the customer through the entire project to make sure the customer receives exactly what they envisioned. Currently we have two alumni at Picture Perfect Construction, John Phelan, owner and operator, as well as Jonathan Jackson the maintenance manager. John and
Jonathan would be a great people to network with and talk to about an internship or even a career with Picture Perfect Construction. To see some of the many beautiful properties they have designed here is their website.
AgReserves is an Agricultural company located in Florida, Utah, and California. They offer careers and internships in Agronomy, Horticulture, Animal Science, Agriculture Technology, and Agriculture Education. They have large production in citrus groves, nut trees, cattle, and more. AgReserves is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and includes companies like Deseret Ranches, AgriNorthwest, and Deseret Farms of California. They offer great opportunities to gain hands on experience and new cultural insights. AgReserves will be here November 6th & 7th . They will present information on the 6th in BEN 287 at 7pm. Interviews for interns will be held on the 7th from 7am to noon; a resume is a must.
Kari Jo is well known in the department for her excitement and her wonderful care-free attitude. She recently came back from her internship at The Marjorie McNeely conservatory in St. Paul, MN. She stayed in an accommodating family’s home. On an average day Kari Jo would arrive to at the conservatory to start work at 7:00 am. She had only three hours to water, prune, Transplant, and anything else in the Public area of the gardens before they were open to the public. The remainder of the day was spent watering plant material in greenhouses, seeding, taking inventory, and ordering. Her Favorite part of the job was working with a renowned Japanese garden specialist, John Powell. Powell was there consulting with the conservatory on a renovation of their Japanese garden. Kari Jo worked very close with Powell to construct a particular fence that only she was trusted to build. Kari Jo said the skill she learned the most on her internship was to be flexible. With so many gardens and so many people in charge you need to learn to adapt to how each person wants their area to look. Her main advice for all the students preparing to get an internship is to make sure to “be on time and be ready to get dirty.” So if you see Kari Jo in the halls feel free to ask her about her internship and any other questions you might have.
Bryan Randall is interning with the University of California Cooperative Extension.
Find out more about his internship and see if this internship would interest you.
Bryan Randall is a horticulture student with an emphasis in production and clusters in biology and chemistry. He is married and has one child with another on the way. He enjoys woodworking, archery, family, the gospel, and problem solving. His desire to teach and assist others in solving their own horticulture related problems led him to this internship in California.
Bryan Randall accepted an internship with the University of California Cooperate Extension (UCCE) in Orange County as a Staff Research Associate 1 (SRA 1). UCCE is one of several branches of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR). The office that he worked out of was located in Irvine at the South Coast Research and Extension Center (SCREC). The research and extension facility is one of ten located throughout the state.
Working under Darren Haver Ph. D., director of SCREC and Water Quality Advisor for Orange County, Bryan and the other SRA’s evaluate the environmental conditions of several different parks located throughout Orange County. He has done everything from soil analysis, plant identification, and irrigation audits to geo-tagging irrigation components so they will be viewable on Google Earth. He also worked extensively creating and formatting documents from the data collected. At the conclusion of his evaluations the park managers will receive the data collected and recommendations to improve management of their resources. Bryan was well prepared for this diverse, comprehensive line of work after carefully managing and evaluating the Small Fruit Garden at BYU-Idaho last summer and working hard in his classes. He said it is a lot like working for Brother Toll, juggling many tasks at once.
Bryan's biggest challenge has been the calculations required to create Excel spreadsheets for irrigation audits and soil analysis. Many of the things he is required to do were taught in the classes here at BYU-Idaho. He wishes he had his binders from propagation, turf management and production classes to help remind him of those things he learned. He said, “All the equations that you learned in Willis and Dewey’s classes are actually being used in the field!” This internship has opened his eyes to the practical use of his education as well as the possibilities in cooperative extensions.
He would like to pursue a career as a horticulture extension agent; educating the general public, meeting individual needs, and training. Along with his education at BYU-Idaho, Bryan is actively developing his horticulture skills through certification and internships like this.
When asked what advice he would give to students at BYU-Idaho he said, “There are a lot of students that complain about the technical stuff that we are learning. The scientific things of horticulture set you apart from the amateurs out there. Know that if you’re passionate about horticulture and apply yourself to learning, you will be recognized as a professional.”
If you are interested in learning more about opportunities like Bryan’s, visit www.byuihorticulture.weebly.com and view the list of internship opportunities available there.
Recently, a few of our students and faculty members were able to attend the INLA Hort Expo. The Hort Expo is a conference for different companies in the horticulture industry to come together for the opportunity to network and attend seminars. Our students find opportunities for networking with companies to find mentors and/or job contacts within the industry. Our faculty likes to attend so they can keep current on the happenings within the industry.
Valerie Schulthess and Jace Johnson, both students in attendance at the conference, agree that the expo is invaluable for students. Valerie said that at first, she didn't think any of the booths applied to her future career goals but as she began to speak with different sales representatives, she was overwhelmed by the wealth of information they seemed to give to her. She said, "It evolved into these experienced horticulturists pouring out tons of valuable advice about classes I should take, skills I should master, etc."
Jace had the opportunity to attend several seminars and network with owners and managers of the largest horticulture companies in the area. He also visited with several people about possible employment after graduation. He said, "I received one offer to work for a company part time, online, while finishing school. I have never been in another setting that made me feel like such a part of this industry. I am extremely grateful for the chance that I have, as a student, to do things like this. Most people in the industry, unless they are in management, don't even have that chance. This is a very narrow window of opportunity."
The hort expo is a great way for students to see what their career opportunities in the industry are. It's also a great way to network with companies to gain employment opportunities. It's even a good way to learn about what's going on, and to stay current. Hort expos like these are recommended to anyone trying to get into the industry.
For inspiration for this new semester, we thought we'd highlight our interns for the past year. In the past year, BYU-Idaho's horticulture department has been represented by 35 interns in 13 states spreading across the U.S. We've been represented down the east and west coast, ranging from Hawaii to New York. Our students have been great at opening doors, finding opportunities, and keeping up our awesome intern reputation. The Horticulture department encourages you to keep an eye out and find those opportunities. They offer classes like Internship Preparation and Seminar. They go on expeditions and trips to encourage networking. Students should take advantage of these things offered by the university. Learning on the job is such a great experience!
Ben Miller was a very interesting speaker to have for seminar this week. He gave very good insight to the business side of the Horticulture industry. He spoke a lot about the differences between 'big business' and small business. While large companies may seem to have more benefits, small companies may offer more opportunity for experience and growth. He brought up the fact that, in a small company, the lines of communication are a lot smaller, allowing you to have access to the 'big guys' of the business. With those communication lines open, more opportunity and growth is available, but only if you take seek out those opportunities for yourself.
He also talked about failure being a big deterrent for entering a small company. His definition of failure was not learning from mistakes. Failure isn't really failure unless you give up. He said, "Manage your failures." Address your failures, reflect on them and turn them into success. I really liked that he said failure should build confidence rather than rattle it. If we can turn 'failure' into a learning experience, it will only lead to success. On that note, he also said he looks for interns who aren't afraid to take on more than they can chew sometimes, who more or less aren't afraid of failure, because that creates more learning opportunities and experience for themselves and shows initiative.
Northwest Landscape Services seemed like a great company to work for. They view their company as a '2nd university'. Their goal is to make their employees more valuable to the industry than they were when they started work. They achieve this by allowing their employees more experiences and opportunities than most would get with a large company.
Our aim for the Department of Horticulture at Brigham Young University-Idaho is to nurture understanding of both the art and science of Horticulture. Students learn experimentally in the classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, and ten acre Thomas E. Ricks demonstration garden as they pursue an Associates or Bachelors Degree. Using the medium of plants, students develop habits of hard work, enlightened minds, and healthy living that assist in gainful employment opportunitues.