Local Partners Team Up To Map Out Community Gardens
Written by Patti Fleetwood Saturday, 01 August 2015 23:31
When the residents who tend the Community Gardens of Santa Clarita, a 134-plot spread of land at Central Park in Saugus, sought a way to expand their facilities, they realized they were in need of a map. With little to no budget to speak of, the team of local gardeners called the College of the Canyons Land Surveying Program to create a topographical rendering. From there, they would be able to better accomplish their mission: “to create a community facility where individuals can come together to promote the benefits of locally grown, organic food that is environmentally friendly, sustainable, and cost effective and which delivers economic, health and educational benefits to a wide array of valley residents.”
Emphasizing his desire for a local workforce to handle the job, James Weiland, president of the Garden Council Executive Board, explained why he called COC first.
“Because of their working knowledge of the immediate and surrounding areas,” Weiland felt that communications would be simpler. “I also felt they would be more committed to doing professional work, since they would also live in the community and depend upon word of mouth for other business.”
The COC program, however, didn’t have the necessary students on-hand to complete the work, said Regina Blasberg, chair of the Engineering Technologies/Land Surveying Program. But they would figure something out together.
Blasberg contacted CRC Enterprises, a locally based civil engineering and land surveying company, to see if they could help. In addition to serving on COC’s Land Surveying Advisory Board, CRC owner and president Ron Koester helped start the college land surveying program back in 2006; he also serves as an adjunct professor. Thanks to Koester’s generosity, CRC completed the work pro bono on behalf of COC, as a way of giving back to both the college and the local community.
Aside from CRC’s team of surveyors, a current land-surveying student, Luis Romero, also helped map things out – and got his hands dirty with some field work for the first time since starting his program. Although Romero had looked at other programs initially, he was happy he chose COC.
“There’s always something different going on,” Romero said, “but you can count on having a home base to return to.”
Blasberg suggested that anyone who has an interest in the outdoors should consider working in land surveying. She stressed that it’s “also helpful to be confident in your basic math skills, be active and physically fit because of the terrain, and be comfortable socially because you’ll need to work as part of a team.
“The Land Surveying program at COC has helped my business from the standpoint that the men are better educated and equipped to take on a variety of roles,” Koester said thankfully. “I hope that all employees would further their education for a better chance at advancement.”
He refers to those in the field as “men” because it’s mostly men in the field. When questioned, Koester said he’d like to see more women in the field because they are [generally] excellent at problem solving, and good communication is a highly sought after skill. “I’d like to encourage both men and women to consider land surveying as a career opportunity; it’s financially rewarding, and you get to work outdoors,” he said.
Students can obtain either an Associate of Science Degree in Land Surveying, a Certificate of Achievement in Land Surveying, or both.
For more information, visit Canyons.edu or contact Regina Blasberg at Regina.Blasberg@Canyons.edu. For more information about the Community Gardens of Santa Clarita visit www.CommunityGardensOfSantaClarita.org . To support the gardens, residents are encouraged to participate in Macy’s Shop For A Cause event on Saturday, August 9.