UD students learn about interesting CANR programs

Students with undeclared majors meet CANR's Dean, Mark Rieger, and pot plants in Fischer Greenhouse.Twenty-three University of Delaware students visited the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) campus on Jan. 23 to create dish gardens at the Fischer Greenhouse, learn how ice cream is made at the UDairy Creamery and speak with CANR Dean Mark Rieger about the college’s class offerings and job opportunities for students who graduate with degrees in agriculture and natural resource related fields.

The students toured the CANR facilities as part of UD’s 2015 Study at Home program, which is funded by a Unidel grant and designed to emulate Winter Session study abroad experiences by highlighting exciting venues and activities both on and off the UD campus.

Christina King, Residence Life and Housing complex coordinator, said the program planned nine workshops and events, three of which were trips to Longwood Gardens, to Philadelphia and to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

“Study at Home is meant to be a series of events, workshops or trips that can in some ways mirror the experience a student could get if they went abroad, but on campus and in the local area,” said King. “Each trip has something to see and then a cultural meal or an activity that might take students out of their comfort zone.”

In addition to the CANR visit, the students also participated in other on-campus activities, such as a paint night, a yoga workshop, a tour of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections and an Asian cooking tutorial in Vita Nova’s kitchens with representatives of the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management (HRIM).

For their experience at CANR, students began with a tour of the Fischer Greenhouse, where they learned firsthand from Bill Bartz, greenhouse manager, about the facility and the plants grown there. They were then able to make festive dish gardens out of tropical houseplants and interact with Rieger, who was on hand to help out and answer any questions the students had about CANR.

One student was able to learn about the horses on the CANR farm as well as the equine science minor, while another asked about the UDairy Creamery’s new “Science of Ice Cream” course. Another was interested in Rieger’s sustainable and organic agriculture class that will be offered in the spring. 

After spending time at the Fischer Greenhouse, the students moved to the UDairy Creamery, where they were treated to some ice cream and finished their day with a tour led by Melinda Litvinas, creamery manager, and Jennifer Rodammer, supervisor at the facility.

Ariel Ramirez, a sophomore majoring in political science, said that — other than a stop at the popular UDairy Creamery — Study at Home was the first time he had visited the CANR campus and he found it very interesting.

“I think the greenhouse is amazing. I didn’t know this much went into it. I was really impressed,” he said.

Of the Study at Home program, Ramirez said that he participated in the paint night, visited the library’s Special Collections and participated in the trip to New York City. He has found the program beneficial and said he believes it should be carried on into the future.

“It’s really cool because you get to see all the culture and all the things UD has to offer, and all the opportunities that you might not get to see otherwise,” said Ramirez.

McKenzie Tsaousis, a freshman mechanical engineering major, said she really enjoyed her time at CANR and, like Ramirez, had never been inside any of the buildings on the CANR campus, although she had been at the site for ice cream and to see the cows.

Tsaousis said she is interested in taking the “Cow to Cone” class.

“I think that would be really interesting. I’ve milked a cow before, but obviously not thought about making ice cream, so I think it would be really cool — especially since I love the ice cream here — to get involved in the whole thing,” said Tsaousis.

Of the Study at Home program overall, Tsaousis said, “I absolutely love it. I’ve actually been to every single program. It’s a really awesome opportunity because I’m from Raleigh, North Carolina, so I haven’t been to a lot of the things that are up here. We went to Longwood Gardens and I’ve never been, so it’s really cool to expose yourself to all these different things.”

King said that throughout the experience, “The students have been delightful to work with. To see them do this has been very rewarding because it was very hard to plan and we weren’t sure if people were going to do it and it’s been great. The students have been wonderful and really enjoyed it.”

For more information on the Study at Home program, visit the Winter Session Learning Activities website.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson

This article can also be viewed on UDaily.