Students in Louisiana Tech’s Fall Quarter Landscape Design and Contracting class got their hands dirty and brightened up campus by designing and installing plants in the triangle bed near the northeast entrance of Woodard Hall.
“Hands-on learning experiences such as these put what we teach in the classroom into practice,” Dr. Paul Jackson, associate professor of plant science and the class instructor, said. “We had to coordinate soil being delivered to the site, we had to locate available plants, and we had to work with Tech’s Building and Grounds staff and the College of Education (COE) on logistics and selecting a proper design.
“This project provided collaboration between two colleges and created a unique service learning experience. The students did a great job.”
Students created designs that had to be scaled accurately, include unique symbols to represent the plants and materials used, and be thematically sound. The drawings were then evaluated by Jackson, COE Dean Don Schillinger, Superintendent of Tech Grounds Zach Mays, and loyal Tech alums Jeanette and Justin Hinckley; Jeanette graduated from Tech in Education and was COE Distinguished Alumna in 2016, and husband Justin, Class of 1978, was named Tech’s Alumnus of the Year in 2010.
Although there were a few changes in the plants chosen due to supply issues, the design submitted by Kerington Bass, a junior Agriculture Education major from Calhoun, was selected.
“The design had two main goals: 360 view and color,” Bass, a West Ouachita High graduate, said. “I have been in Woodard a thousand times due to being an education major and I knew the bed needed to be viewed from all sides since there is traffic coming from the Woodard and Tolliver buildings. With that in mind, I used the points of the triangle to do an almost stair-step design in starting smaller with spirea and gradually building in height to the center that will eventually be a Japanese Maple. So no matter what sidewalk you use you can have a complete view of all the plants.”
About eight cubic yards of soil was added to the landscape bed by both the class and Tech grounds staff after its delivery nearby by a dump truck. Plants were purchased from two nearby nurseries and planted on November 15. The plants used were Kaleidoscope abelia, double red dwarf spirea, October Magic sasanqua camellia, and the future Japanese maple that will be planted when the tree becomes available in January.
“Lack of color within the fall season is common within the piney hills of north Louisiana, which is why in my design, I included plants that provide different colors throughout the year,” Bass said. “The Japanese Maple I chose will be a burgundy throughout the spring to summer months and turn bright red for the fall and winter months. Other plants that have a strong fall and winter interest include the white camellias and double red dwarf spireas.”
To ensure she was going to be prepared for her career as an agriculture educator, Bass said she came to Tech because she “wanted to be exposed to all aspects of agriculture and education. With Tech’s lab school and an amazing College of Education, I knew by the time I would step into my own classroom, I would have the skills and strategies to be successful.
“The agricultural side of South Campus offers classes that cover everything from animal science and plant science to drone and wildlife. Taking a variety of classes has provided me with the knowledge needed to be an effective teacher. Tech also has classes solely for agriculture educators in which we learn every aspect of being an Ag teacher and the challenges we will face that no other teacher will experience. Since starting Tech, I’ve also worked on Tech Farm and been involved in multiple South Campus clubs, and I can truly say that it has become my home. I know I have made the right decision coming here.”