Pickens Tech ramps up hort program Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, May 09, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

For 25+ years, Urban Horticulture & Landscape Management at Pickens Technical College, Aurora, has trained young people and older career changers for landscape industry jobs. Rachel Durkan, new instructor in 2021, envisions it as “one of the gems of the Front Range for green industry career training.” Already, many students work in horticulture/landscape jobs outside the classroom.

Durkan is pleased with a new classroom, greenhouse upgrades and help from colleague Donna Nading, who manages greenhouse operations and more. Both bring past training and work experience to their jobs.

Durkan’s career has been varied from growing tropicals in Hawaii to driving a snowplow in Colorado. She went to Virginia Tech, then received a graduate degree from CSU in agriculture extension education, and recently, was maintenance account manager for a local landscape firm.

Nading, a degreed chemist, worked many years in environmental laboratories testing soil samples. Her love of horticulture prompted her to become a master gardener and realign her career with plants. She recently received Greenhouse Grower Certification from Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association (CNGA).

Their students are engaged in hands-on activities learning plant health, insect management, irrigation skills and more. They grow veggie plant starts for three local farms as well as plants sold at the annual Mother’s Day sale. (See full article in Colorado Green magazine.)

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green Now: