Certificate In Horticulture (Nature Park Management)

Learn to work with plants, animals and natural environments - in conservation, rehabilitation or environmental protection. Train to manage reserves, zoos, wildlife parks and other natural areas.

Course Code: VHT002
Fee Code: CT
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 600 hours
Qualification Certificate
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NATURE PARK MANAGEMENT AT CERTIFICATE LEVEL

THIS IS A 600 to 700 HOUR COURSE THAT OPENS UP A WEALTH OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE GRADUATE.

The core units cover general horticulture - this gives you an edge in nature park management because most courses overlook the importance of understanding the fundamentals of horticulture in the role of nature parks  management.

It also opens up opportunities in many horticulture sectors for example:

  • Nature park management
  • Parks management
  • Nursery sector specialising in native plants
  • Work in land rehabilitation 
  • Work as consultants
  • Land management in natural areas


WHO IS THIS COURSE AIMED AT?

  • People wanting to work in wildlife parks, national parks, zoos, conservation areas, or other nature parks.
  • People already working in this field who want to upgrade or formalise their studies
  • People who want to work in allied horticultural industries such as specialist nurseries

The Certificate in Horticulture (nature park management) is a vocationally oriented and comprises studies in both general horticulture and in nature park management.


COURSE STRUCTURE

Certificate in Horticulture involves the areas of work:
  • CORE STUDIES - 3 units of study in the Horticultural field. These are explained in greater detail below.
  • STREAM STUDIES - a further 3 modules including Nature Park Management I and Nature Park Management II plus one other elective selected from the following list:
  • Ecotour Management
  • Ecotour Tour Guide Course
  • Introduction to Ecology
  • Weed Control
  • Wildlife Management
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Conservation and Environmental Management
  • Ornithology
  • Practical Horticulture I
  • Marine Studies I
  • Vertebrate Zoology
  • Animal Health Care
  • Environmental Assessment
  • Workplace Health & Safety

(More details on each module is available by searching this site).


CORE STUDIES

The core studies are comprised of 6 units which are covered in 15 lessons, all of which must be successfully completed in order to move on to the stream studies. The core units account for approximately 350 hours in duration, or half of the overall course time. The following gives a more detailed outline for each of the units:

1. Introduction to plants

The purpose of this study area is to explain the binomial system of plant classification and demonstrate identification of plant species through the ability of using botanical descriptions for leaf shapes and flowers.

Objectives

  • Describe the relevant identifying physical features of flowering ornamental plants.
  • Demonstrate how to use prescribed reference books and other resources to gain relevant information.
  • Dissect, draw and label two different flowers.
  • Collect and identify the shapes of different leaves.
  • Demonstrate how to identify between family, genus, species, variety and cultivar.

2. Plant culture

The purpose of this study area is to demonstrate the ability to care for plants so as to maintain optimum growth and health while considering pruning, planting, and irrigation.

Objectives

  • Describe how to prune different plants.
  • Demonstrate how to cut wood correctly, on the correct angle and section of the stem.
  • Describe how to plant a plant.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of different irrigation equipment, sprinklers, pumps and turf systems available by listing their comparative advantages and disadvantages.
  • Demonstrate competence in selecting an appropriate irrigation system for a garden, explaining why that system would be preferred.
  • Define water pressure and flow rate and how to calculate each.
  • Explain the need for regular maintenance of garden tools and equipment.
  • List factors that should be considered when comparing types of machinery for use in garden maintenance.

3. Soils and plant nutrition

The purpose of this study area is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to identify, work with, and improve the soil condition and potting mixes, and to evaluate fertilisers for use in landscape jobs to maximise plant growth.

Objectives

  • Describe the soil types commonly found in plant culture in terms of texture, structure and water-holding and nutrient holding capacity.
  • Describe methods of improving soil structure, infiltration rate, water holding capacity, drainage and aeration.
  • List the elements essential for plant growth.
  • Diagnose the major nutrient deficiencies that occur in ornamental plants and prescribe treatment practices.
  • Describe soil pH and its importance in plant nutrition.
  • Describe the process by which salting occurs and how to minimise its effect.
  • Conduct simple inexpensive tests on three different potting mixes and report accordingly.
  • Describe suitable soil mixes for container growing of five different types of plants.
  • List a range of both natural and artificial fertilisers.
  • Describe fertiliser programs to be used in five different situations with ornamental plants.

4. Introductory propagation

The purpose of this study area is to improve the student's understanding of propagation techniques with particular emphasis on cuttings and seeds. Other industry techniques such as grafting and budding are also explained.

Objectives

  • Demonstrate propagation of six (6) different plants by cuttings and three from seed.
  • Construct a simple inexpensive cold frame.
  • Mix and use a propagation media suited to propagating both seed and cuttings.
  • Describe the method and time of year used to propagate different plant varieties.
  • Describe and demonstrate the steps in preparing and executing a variety of grafts and one budding technique.
  • Explain the reasons why budding or grafting are sometimes preferred propagation methods.

5. Identification and use of Plants

The purpose of this study area is to improve the student's range of plant knowledge and the plant use in landscaping and the ornamental garden, and the appreciation of the different optimum and preferred growing conditions for different plants.

Objectives

  • Select plants appropriate for growing in different climates.
  • Select plants appropriate to use for shade, windbreaks, as a feature, and for various aesthetic effects.
  • Categorise priorities which effect selection of plants for an ornamental garden.
  • Explain the differences in the way plants perform in different microclimates within the same area.
  • List and analyse the situations where plants are used.

6. Pests, diseases and weeds

The purpose of this study area is develop the student’s ability to identify, describe and control a variety of pests, diseases and weeds in ornamental situation, and to describe safety procedures when using agricultural chemicals.

Objectives

  • Explain in general terms the principles of pest, disease and weed control and the ecological (biological) approach to such control
  • Explain the host-pathogen-environment concept.
  • Describe a variety of pesticides for control of pests, diseases and weeds of ornamental plants in terms of their active constituents, application methods, timing and rates, and safety procedures.
  • Photograph or prepare specimens, identify and recommend control practices for at least five insect pests of ornamental plants.
  • Photograph, sketch or prepare samples, identify and recommend control practices for three non-insect ornamental plant health problems (e.g. fungal, viral, bacterial).
  • Describe the major ways in which diseases (fungal, viral, bacterial and nematode) affect turf, the life cycle features that cause them to become a serious problem to turf culture and the methods available for their control.
  • Identify, describe and recommend treatment for three different weed problems.
  • Collect, press, mount and identify a collection of ten different weeds, and recommend chemical and non-chemical treatments which may be used to control each.
  • List and compare the relative advantages and disadvantages of different weed control methods.

 

Duration: Approximately 600 - 700 hrs. To be completed as your situation permits




Why Do we need to Manage Natural Areas?

Landscapes and their associated plant and animal life are a result of responses to millions of years of naturally occurring disturbances (eg. fire, flood, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, climate changes, sea level changes). Living communities have survived and developed because they have the ability to adapt and perpetuate themselves in a constantly changing environment.

The first thing to understand about natural environments is that they are constantly changing. The manager of a nature park is the manager of change.

A nature park manager should not expect, or attempt to stop natural changes, but he should exercise control over "unnatural influences" which could cause change faster than what the natural environment can adapt to.

Human interference can accelerate change in an environment causing such things as:

  • An increased rate of soil erosion
  • Changes to water run-off patterns
  • Salinity
  • Soil compaction
  • Soil acidification
  • Land slips
  • Weed infestation
  • Loss of native vegetation
  • Pollution of soil, air and streams

Natural ecosystems embody all living and non-living components in a specified district, garden, niche, etc. The more natural the garden or park, the closer it would be to a natural ecosystem. As multiple functions are important, the plants and design should provide food for humans and other biological organisms in the area. Shelter is also important for the nesting of many birds and animals.

A natural ecosystem will provide a diversity of plants and animals; provide a continual succession of plant and animal population; will recycle energy within the parameters of the ecosystem; efficiently utilises resources; provides multiple functions and elements; and demonstrates the principles of relative location.

Examples
 
Deforestation Issues
Tropical forests are being destroyed at an ever increasing rate. The estimates of the losses vary, but at least one half of the tropical forests of the world have already been lost. If the trend continues, the remaining tropical forests will disappear within the next three decades. This is an incalculable loss, because these forests provide habitat for an estimated half of the plant and animal species of the world. In addition, these forests provide water and fuel for a large portion of the world’s population. They also have a large influence on the local and global climatic systems. Such forests are also potentially a treasure house full of previously unknown chemicals, foods, pharmaceuticals, spices and more.

Most of the deforestation is caused by commercial logging, land clearance for agriculture, ranching and fuel. Solutions to these problems include:

• The development of alternative wood supplies for fuel and timber, achieved by planting and maintaining timber and fuel wood plantations.
• Developing alternative energy sources for cooking and heating to replace wood used as fuel (e.g. solar).
• The regulation of logging.
• A consensus on the value of forest conservation over commercial development.
• More efficient use of harvested wood products.

Mining Issues
Not surprisingly there is a long list of possible environmental consequences from mining. Some of these include erosion, groundwater contamination by heavy metals, habitat destruction, sink-hole creation and acid mine drainage.

Acid mine drainage occurs where out-flowing water from a metal or coal mine is highly acidic, although this can be a naturally occurring process, it is characteristic of large scale disturbances.

Exhaustion of non-renewable resources
The primary consideration here is the exhaustion of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels were formed millions of years ago through the decomposition of animal and plant material over time it formed layer upon layer under the ground, which solidified and formed a hard, black coloured rock like substance known as coal. Through mining these non-renewable resources coal is processed into oil or petroleum, which forms a large part of the Australian economy through export to other countries. There is a limited supply of coal in underground reserves and is therefore considered to be non-renewable, once it is all gone, there is no more. The solution to this problem lies in the better use of the alternative fuel supplies, by increasing the efficiency of combustion, or by using alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar power and biofuels such as ethanol.

Fishing Issues
Destructive fishing methods may lead to habitat loss. Examples of this include cyanide fishing where sodium cyanide is used to kill and capture fish, the sodium cyanide damages coral, spawn and younger fish. Dynamite fishing where explosives are used to kill or stun schools of fish, this style of fishing frequently kills the coral reef supporting the fish population as well. The combination of these two can lead to large breakdown of coral reef ecosystems. Bottom trawling involves dragging a net along either the very bottom of the ocean or just above the bottom. Bottom trawling can lead to mass destruction of entire sea floor environments. Further effects include re-suspension of sediment from the sea floor. This has the effect of reducing light levels leading affecting kelp growth. Additionally such sediments are often ‘sinks’ for pollutants such as DDT, effectively re-suspension is allowing such pollution back into the food chain. Destruction of the sea floor environments also reduces the ability of fish populations to restore themselves due to habitat loss.
 
WHERE CAN YOU WORK ONCE YOU HAVE GRADUATED?


Work in wildlife parks, national parks, zoos, conservation areas, or other nature parks.
  • Work in allied horticultural industries such as specialist nurseries.
LET US HELP YOU TO EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS FURTHER

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Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

Principal of ACS Distance Education, John Mason, is fellow of the CIH.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.

ACS is a Preferred Member Training Provider with the Australian Institute of Horticulture. ACS students meeting AIH criteria can join AIH as a Category 2 student member.

Principal John Mason has been honoured to be awarded a Fellow of Parks and Leisure Australia, having been an active member since 1974.

Our Principal John Mason, was awarded a fellowship by the Australian Institute of Horticulture in 2010


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

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You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

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If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding in your selected discipline. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

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We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

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We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (6 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

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Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Rosemary Davies (Horticulturist)

Leading horticultural expert in Australia.
Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c

John Mason (Horticulturist)

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.

Dr Robert Browne

Zoologist, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability, science based consultancy with biotechnology corporations. Work focused on conservation and sustainability.
Robert has published work in the fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and develop





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Kara Wight

BSc (Applied Bioscience and Zoology), HND (Animal Care), HND (Photography & Imaging)

Kara gained an HND in Animal Care and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Applied Bioscience and Zoology. She has a wide range of experience working with animals such dogs, small pets, birds, zoo animals, British wildlife and reptiles. Kara gained this experience working within animal parks, canine rescue centres and a wildlife hospital. She also managed an animal care training facility for a college. At this training facility she instructed and lectured students within Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing from National Certificate level to Higher National Diploma levels.

Kara also gained an HND in Photography and Imaging and has 5 years’ experience within this sector. She ran a small portraiture and wedding photography business and also exhibited work in art exhibitions. Kara gained more experience photographing sporting and festival events.

Kara currently runs a pet care and training business in the UK and also has entry to undertake her MSc in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law this academic year.

Sarah Pirecki

BAnVetBioSc., Dip. ProjMgt (TBC).

A passionate advocate for animal health and welfare. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience majoring in Animal Health and Disease and is currently completing a Diploma of Project Management. She has a wide range of experience working in agricultural settings, veterinary nursing, assistance dog raising, and animal education.

Michael Brugman

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