Bakersfield College

Environmental Horticulture

Environmental Horticulture

Plants outside Bakersfield College Agriculture buildingHorticultura - Hortus and Cultura in Latin means ‘garden cultivation’. First defined in 1631 by Peter Laurenberg, Horticulture is the intensive cultivation of plants. In 1678, the first use of the definition for horticulture was in English referring to the science and art of growing fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants.

Today, Environmental Horticulture is the science and art of improving the world around us with the use of plants.

The Bakersfield College Environmental Horticulture program will enhance students’ knowledge of plants, their uses, propagation, care, beautification, and business applications. The program encourages professional standards, a strong work ethic, environmentally responsible management practices, and constant evolution of course materials to meet the needs of an ever changing world. Students will learn the knowledge and "learn by doing" skills necessary to develop a strong foundation for a variety of careers in the horticultural industries, including landscaping, nursery, floral design, and research. Students will also be prepared for transfer and completion of their degrees at higher education institutions.

Environmental Horticulture is one of the fastest-growing segments of agriculture in the nation and professionals in all aspects of this active "green" industry are in high demand. Whether you are interested in greenhouse or nursery production, retailing or marketing products, golf course/turf management, or any aspect of the landscape industry, this is your field. Professionals in this industry are responsible for the production, utilization, and maintenance of trees, flowers, shrubs, houseplants, and turf grasses that are used to enhance the environment.

The Environmental Horticulture industry in California is a multibillion-dollar business. California is the location of some of the largest nurseries, greenhouses, and landscape maintenance companies in the United States and ranks as the number one state in horticultural business.

What Exactly Do Environmental Horticulturists Do?

Positions are available for environmental horticulture graduates in the following areas:

  • Botanical/Theme Park Gardens: The many theme parks and botanical gardens in California offer numerous employment opportunities involving landscape management, plant production, plant collection, and educational displays of scientific technology used to grow plants.
  • Communication: Writing for farm and garden magazines, newspapers, television, and radio can be a rewarding field for men and women trained in environmental horticulture.
  • Government Service: You can become a specialist in environmental horticulture for the United States Department of Agriculture, the California Department of Food and Agriculture; or a city, county or state park superintendent.
  • Grower Services: Seed firms, manufacturers of fertilizers, spray materials and equipment need personnel with horticultural training to perform a wide variety of tasks in research, development, technical service, and sales work.
  • Marketing: You can operate or become employed by companies wholesaling or retailing seeds, cuttings, or supplies. Companies marketing cut flowers and flowering plants, foliage plants or woody and tropical nursery plants employ graduates of our department. You might prefer being a buyer of these items for a chain store, a government institution, or wholesale distribution.
  • Production: You can operate your own business or be a manager of a golf course, nursery, landscaping service, greenhouse, flower - plant shop or garden center.
  • Research: You can become a scientist or research assistant. Scientists are constantly seeking to improve the quality of environmental plants and their handling, storage and marketing. Scientists may specialize in plant breeding, plant nutrition, plant growth regulation by chemicals, or other fascinating areas of plant research. Many employment opportunities are available in agri-business firms and government research divisions.
  • Teaching: You can be a teacher. Environmental horticulturists with proper qualifications can teach in high schools, technical schools, community colleges, and universities.