ASHDOWN, Ark. – Earlier this year, Ashdown Public Schools added turf management course offerings. Students in this class are able to learn basic skills in agronomy, turf management, lawn care, and maintenance of small equipment.
“We want to give children a great experience at Ashdown and allow them to have a wide variety of opportunities in the world of work,” said Chuck Cross, teacher at Turf Management.
The students were already helping Coach Cross on the courts when he realized they could learn even more by making the experience a full class. And that’s where the idea was born.
Photo by Rick McFarland
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / RICK MCFARLAND –12 / 10 / 15– David Fowler, Safety Training Manager, Rock Region Metro, places the first AED unit on a Rock Region Metro bus at their North Little Rock facility on Thursday . The Little Rock Fire Department trained 20 bus drivers in the use of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation device. An AED sign will be displayed on buses with the device.
Public relations manager Ronda Pounds said the current availability of agronomy jobs, along with the current growth in the turf management industry, makes this class an intriguing option for some students.
Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants in agriculture for food, fuel, fiber, recreation, and land restoration.
“It’s going really well,” Pounds said. “The students had the opportunity to tour a golf course in Little Rock and receive information from professionals. The students love it, and we have professional looking pitches.
These students have the potential to seek employment in a myriad of fields such as: Golf Course Management, Irrigation Specialist, Landscape Designer / Contractor, Residential Lawn Service, Commercial Park / Land Manager, Site Manager. sports fields, seed / nutrient supplier, turf manufacturer / equipment seller, business owner / manager, sales representative or turf grower. Jobs are even available as a plant / seed breeder, weed specialist or extension worker.
“Coach Cross and the students work so hard to provide our athletes with premier football, softball and baseball fields,” said Superintendent Casey Nichols. “They are learning skills that will make them employable during and beyond high school. We want to offer every student the opportunity to excel in the classroom or outside the normal classroom setting.
Currently, the student’s biggest class project is the upkeep of the Dick Hays Football Stadium on the Ashdown High School campus. Students are also responsible for the softball and baseball fields during this season.