“Experience the View” is more than our mission statement at Loma Vista Nursery. It is an actionable training tool that is educating the next generation of horticulture professional.
Each May through August, our on-nursery internship provides experience in horticulture and agriculture business and communications, as well as in environmental sciences and sustainability management. Interns participate in a rotation through the nursery’s departments and receive wages and college course credit for working up to 50 hours per week.
Intern Dakota Lepker smiles among our crop of Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa).
Passion for Plant Production
“Our interns spend the summer in hands-on work with staff members from each team and they learn every aspect of our operation, including propagation, plant health, perennial production, nursery production and quality control,” says Lyndsi Oestmann, president. “We care about mentoring our interns so they receive practical knowledge to complement their theoretical coursework and ultimately become informed and active members of our horticulture industry.”
Dakota Lepker was planning on becoming an orthodontist when he graduates next year from Kansas-based Ottawa University. But during his sophomore year he took the biology of plants and that changed everything. His passion for plant production was born.
Pruning Li’l Bang™ Enchanted Eve Coreopsis (Coreopsis ‘Enchanted Eve’).
At home in Independence, Mo., Dakota’s hobbies include lacrosse, camping, the outdoors and gardening. He is a member of Ottawa University’s men’s lacrosse team and Phi Delta Theta. He is also an Eagle Scout, the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. Dakota says his grandmother was a good gardener and loved plants. He credits her influence for giving him a good foundation.
Dakota found his way to Loma Vista Nursery’s internship through his biology professor at Ottawa University, Steven R. Boese, Ph.D. A typical day at the nursery for Dakota consists of planting and taking cuttings, organizing greenhouses, filling trays, counting plants, scouting and weeding. While his primary focus has been propagation, Dakota also has training in sales and shipping.
Pruning the base of root stock with Brooke Stamm, propagation manager, and Rodrigo Veda.
Growing for the Future
With his internship drawing to a close this month, Dakota says he has first-hand knowledge in plant behavior, including their needs and wants. He has insights into proper practices and how nursery production utilizes those practices, he says, preparing him for his future in the horticulture industry.
Dakota plans to continue to be part of the production side of the industry and hopes to one day own and manage a commercial growing operation. He says he would like to make an impact and maybe change the way things work in the future.
When he graduates from Ottawa University in 2023, Dakota will have a degree in biology with emphasis in plant propagation and management. His experience working with plants at Loma Vista Nursery, he says, positions him well for his future.
Learn More About Plants from Loma Vista Nursery!
Loma Vista Nursery’s staff members are experts in the field. We love helping people learn and understand more about healthy plants that perform well in Midwest landscapes. For more information, visit our plant catalog. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (785) 229-7200 to get answers to your plant-related questions.
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