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College’s Landscape Technology Program honored for clean storm water training
Photos and Story by Janis Nichols
Imagine taking a 15-hour course that makes you more employable as a landscape professional, helps clean storm water, improves the health of our local streams and rivers and ends with your college receiving the 2016 Special Recognition Award from the Oregon Association of Clean Water Agencies.
During the spring of 2014, David Sandrock, chair of the Landscape Technology Program at the Rock Creek Campus, was working as an extern at Clean Water Services as part of the National Science Foundation sustainability training. It was there that Tony Gilbertson, systems planning supervisor at Clean Water Services (CWS), approached Sandrock with the idea to design a modular training program that would benefit landscape professionals, municipalities, water providers and PCC students. That partnership resulted in a training curriculum that is now LAT 112 or Vegetated Private Water Quality Facility Management.
“The course is intended for anyone who owns or manages the vegetated facilities designed to clean our storm water and to prevent erosion by slowing the rate at which storm water returns to our local streams and rivers, “ said Sandrock. “In collaboration with CWS, we developed a curriculum that teaches best management practices for the inspection and maintenance of vegetated storm water facilities. It is specific to CWS jurisdiction, but could be tailored for other city and county agencies with rain gardens or bioswales.”
When individuals finish LAT 112, they receive one PCC credit, a certificate of completion and 15 Oregon Landscape Contractors Board Continuing Education credits. Those who complete the training are also listed as preferred Landscape Maintenance Contractors on the CWS website. The most recent training drew 10 PCC students and approximately 15 professionals from the landscape industry who earned continuing training credit.
“There were many positives in this training experience, but perhaps the best thing to come from it is the continuation of our partnership with Clean Water Services,” Sandrock added. “They assist with our wetland area here on campus, they donated the 8,000-gallon rain collection tank that we use for west side irrigation, they host our student internships and they assisted with the development of our Environmental Landscape Management Technology degree.
“Clean Water Services is nationally known for what it has accomplished improving the Tualatin Watershed beginning in the 1970’s. PCC, LAT and the students we serve are fortunate to have this partnership with CWS,” he continued.
Kudos to Gilbertson, the Rock Creek LAT faculty and staff, Division Dean Karen Sanders and Sylvania Mechanical Engineering Instructor Todd Sanders, who wrote the NSF grant that provided part of the project funding.