STEM Career Spotlight

STEM Career Inspiration for Kids: Horticulturists

Learn more about what a horticulturist is and what they do, the steps to become a horticulturist, and fun horticulture-related activities for kids!

At Blocks Rock!, we’re continuing our series highlighting awesome STEM careers that inspire kids! For our fourth spotlight, we’re choosing a growing field - horticulture!

Read this article to learn more about what a horticulturist is and what they do, the steps to become a horticulturist, and fun horticulture-related activities for kids! Read to the end to find our third printable poster, perfect for a child’s bedroom wall or a classroom.

Understanding Horticulture

While horticulture is a complicated word, the study of horticulture is simple! Horticulture is the science and art of growing and caring for plants.

A horticulturist is the person who is an expert in the science and art of caring for plants. Overall, horticulturists focus on plants like fruits, vegetables, grasses, flowers, and bushes. Since there are so many types of plants that horticulturalists can care for, there are many different types of jobs a horticulturist can have.

Horticulturist Job Duties

Horticulturists have very important jobs that impact us all! It almost seems there are as many ways to be a horticulturist as there are types of plants that they care for! We’ve outlined a few of the different options that horticulturists have when it comes to jobs.

Some horticulturists work in the field of plant production and try to find the best ways of growing plants that are good for the environment and/or good for feeding people. These types of horticulturists “act as advisers to companies that produce agricultural products, such as orchards, vineyards and Christmas tree farms.” (GreenCareers.biz) Horticulturists that are focusing on plant production can also conduct research into new ways to improve plants.

Other types of horticulturists specialize in turf for sports fields and golf courses. Any grass or artificial grass, also called turf, that you see on a televised baseball, softball, football, or soccer game has had a horticulturist caring for it.

Other horticulturists focus on city forestry or landscape design and create landscapes that help to reduce erosion, improve air and water quality, reduce building energy use and more. These horticulturists can design parks, business properties, and botanical gardens (GreenCareers.biz).

There are also horticulturists who decide to take their plant knowledge and start their own business. Some horticulturists become owners of garden centers, orchards, vineyards, and other plant-related businesses.  

How to Become a Horticulturist

Study.com outlines the main way that you can become a horticulturist. Generally, you’ll want a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, Botany, or a related field.

Here are some of the steps you can take to make that happen:

  1. Work hard in classes in school that focus on biology and science.

  2. Most horticulturists work outside, so find out if you enjoy being outdoors and working with your hands.

  3. Choose and attend a college that offers great science education. To be a horticulturist, you can start with a two or four year degree in horticulture, botany, or something similar.

  4. Search for experiences that get you into the field and help you try the different areas of horticulture. If your college has sports teams, see if you can shadow the people who take care of the fields. Try to find a local garden center, a landscape designer, or food company to work with.

  5. If you want, you can decide to earn an advanced degree in Horticulture, Applied Plant Sciences, Plant Biological Sciences, and more.

You can really decide your own path in horticulture depending on what area you’d like to go into. Becoming a horticulturist requires work, but if you love impacting people, being outdoors, and working with plants you’ll find this career rewarding!

Fun Activities for Interested Horticulturists

So what can a parent do for a budding plant enthusiast? We’ve put together a list of fun activities that encourage a love of science, plants, and outdoor exploration and also helps build skills that are critical for a future in STEM learning!  

Start Seeds with Your Kids - Explore how plant life begins in this fun activity. Buggy and Buddy shares the steps to teaching your kids how to start seeds and shares a free plant observation journal!

Plan Your Garden - This activity from Sunny Day Family gives you a garden checklist with the tools and tasks you’ll need to create a family garden!

Create Compost - Learn how to compost and create nutrient-rich soil that will help your garden flourish in this activity from Kid World Citizen.

Play Blocks Rock! - Since Blocks Rock! Builds spatial reasoning, a skill critical for STEM learning, it’s the perfect game to bring out on a day that you can’t get out in nature!

Conduct a Plant Growth Science Experiment- Lemon and Lime Adventures have a simple activity that can help your children see how different factors can affect plant growth.

Read a Book About Plants - There are some fun reading options for your young meteorologist. Try “Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt”, “National Geographic Readers: Seed to Plant”, and more! Check out a list of book options here.

Explore the Many Uses of Trees - Project Learning Tree has a list of fun outdoor activities that can help kids understand the many benefits and many uses of trees. Click here to explore it!

Get inspired with our Horticulturist Printable!

This one-page printable is a fun summary of this blog post and has a checklist of the activities for young horticulturists. Download it here!

As always, if you’re looking to build skills critical for STEM careers, remember to play Blocks Rock!

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