Illinois Landscape Contractors Association Honors Horticulture Program

By: Jen Duda

The COD Horticulture team poses with the ILCA Special Recognition award

The Illinois Landscape Contractor Association recently honored the College of DuPage Horticulture program team with the ILCA Special Recognition Award during its 2023 Excellence in Landscape Awards Banquet, held earlier this month.

The recognition, which has only been given nine times in the association’s 63-year history, commemorates the Horticulture program’s 50-year history and its steadfast support of ILCA’s mission through education and training the industry’s future workforce.

“This award is a great honor and the College of DuPage Horticulture department would like to thank the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association and all the industry partners for the support they provide our program and our students,” said Horticulture Professor and Program Chair Brian Clement. “This support and long-standing partnership are critical to the development of the students’ career readiness and success.”

In presenting the award, ILCA Executive Director Scott Grams cited COD’s Horticulture program as a “shining star in Illinois horticulture education.”

“The adage across the country is that horticulture programs are dying. Well, someone forgot to tell Brian Clement and his team that fact,” he said. “Last year, the program celebrated its 50th year training students and career changers in three degree programs and nine certificate programs.”

Learn More About Horticulture at COD

The COD Horticulture program provides fundamental and advanced education and practice to prepare graduates for successful entry into the workforce. Students develop knowledge and skills in a range of topics including horticulture and horticulture business, horticultural mathematics, landscaping and landscaping design, floral design, plant propagation, plant taxonomy, soils and fertilizers and sustainable urban agriculture.

Students can earn an Associate in Applied Science degrees in Horticulture, Landscape Contracting and Management and Sustainable Urban Agriculture. In addition, nine specialized certificates are designed to address the diverse nature of the horticulture industry and offer a sound foundation to students who wish to create their own small businesses. Students can choose from a wide variety of electives to customize their education and specialize in their areas of interest.

Pictured: (from left) Business and Technology Dean Kris Fay, Horticulture Professor and Program Chair Brian Clement, Greenhouse Manager Amy Hull, Horticulture Club President Francisco Garcia, Horticulture Program Specialist Teresa Dietz and Horticulture Lab Coordinator Marty Bartz.