Hoffman Nursery believes in the future leaders of horticulture, and the operation invests in several programs to cultivate young people in their careers.
Shannon Currey, Marketing Director, shares some of the efforts underway at Hoffman Nursery.
• Hoffman Nursery formalized its summer internship program two years ago. “The intern spends time with every department and learns a wide range of tasks, including growing, production, stock, marketing, sales, and maintenance,” Currey says. “At the end of the internship, they give a presentation to the nursery about what they’ve been doing.”
• Hoffman Nursery sponsors the Annual & Perennial Plant Identification event at the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) collegiate competition. “It’s a fantastic way to meet motivated and upcoming horticulturists,” Currey says. “The students who make it to these events are excited about horticulture and looking for connections. It’s a way for them to get to know us, learn more about what a career in horticulture is about, and develop mentors in the industry.”
• Hoffman helps local student groups attend the NALP collegiate competition. “Sometimes they come out to the nursery for paid workdays as a group, or we make outright donations to their trips,” Currey says. “For all the reasons mentioned above, these competitions are a great connection for students and those of us promoting the industry.”
• The company hosts nursery tours for current college and high school students in the region. “The students get to see how plants are produced, talk to the staff about what they’re doing, and learn more about the plants we grow,” Currey says. Design students see the plants in the landscape and appreciate the resources growers bring to the industry.”
• Hoffman Nursery sponsors scholarships for high school students to attend the Horticultural Science Summer Institute at North Carolina State University. “It’s a wonderful program that immerses kids in the horticultural world and gets them interested,” Currey says.
• Hoffman offers in-kind donations and financial support to student-based and school projects. “We support student horticulture, including high school- and collegiate-level horticulture plant sales and fundraising events, and projects like rain gardens, demonstration gardens, and state fair projects,” Currey says. “Recently, we provided plants to a huge public school project that’s integrating at least eight rain gardens and a complete re-working of the school playground and playing field to teach students about stormwater management.”