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Back to Nature: Landscape Students Put Skills to Work

What did you do this summer? Travel, play outdoors, take in an Isotopes game or just kick back and relax? Students in the Landscaping program at CNM used their brains and brawn to improve facilities at the Rio Grande Zoo, Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach

Sep 01, 2016

October 2011

Landscape Students - Tingley Beach
What did you do this summer? Travel, play outdoors, take in an Isotopes game or just kick back and relax? Students in the Landscaping program at CNM used their brains and brawn to improve facilities at the Rio Grande Zoo, Botanic Garden and Tingley Beach.

Catherine Hubbard, Botanic Garden Director and a member of the advisory committee for the CNM Landscaping program, arranged with instructor Paul Zalesak to give his Landscaping Construction students some real-world experience and an opportunity to serve the community by contributing to three projects. First they placed boulders around a pond at Tingley Beach which will be part of a future water garden. Then they staked out a frame, dug holes and cemented in wooden posts for a lath house the Rio Grande Zoo will use for plants.

Landscape Students - Tingley Beach
Last but not least, the group dug a stream for the Botanic Garden's new dragonfly sanctuary, the first of its kind in the country, which opened on Sept. 2. The sanctuary provides an ideal habitat for dragonflies and their smaller relatives, damselflies. The water serves as a place for eggs to hatch and aquatic nymphs to develop, and surrounding vegetation allows the adult insects to perch where they can be observed by the public. The BioPark is the No. 1 tourist attraction in the state, with approximately 1.2 million visitors per year, so many people will enjoy the work done by the students.

Landscape Students - Tingley Beach
"It was great to work with the students, and it's really rewarding to see them embark on their landscaping careers," Hubbard says. "The Botanic Garden benefits from our relationship with CNM. We have had staff take landscaping classes, and CNM students have shadowed our crew leaders as they learn the skills they will use in the future."