Student Spotlight brings you the perspectives of horticulture students and insights into the future of the industry.

Photo courtesy of Jackson Chandler

Jackson Chandler has always loved being outside. He particularly enjoyed working with the environment and making landscapes healthier and more enjoyable. His uncle, an arborist, helped him get his foot in the door and start taking a more serious approach to the industry.

He enrolled in classes at Brigham Young University and has been active with his time as a student. He served as a teaching assistant for an arboriculture class and has an internship with Bartlett Tree Experts under his belt as he graduates.

“I just like being hands-on and outside,” Chandler says. “And interacting with other living things that aren’t necessarily people.”

Chandler was also awarded one of Lawn & Landscape’s horticulture scholarships last year. The Richard Foster Award honors outstanding students planning careers in the landscape, lawn care or horticulture fields.

As he settles into the professional side of the industry, Chandler hopes that the different segments in the green industry will start working together.

“One of my hopes is better collaboration and communication with other aspects of the industry. Like more well-rounded workers,” he says. He’d also like to see improvements made to education.

“I know recently there’s been a lot of news about injuries and deaths in the tree care industry,” he says. “And that’s just really sad and hard to see. I think as education improves, then the industry will be better as a whole and particularly will be safer.”

Chandler hopes more communication and collaboration will open the doors to better education not just for industry professionals, but customers and clients as well.

“People get frustrated when their trees die because they’re watered as often as the grasses,” he says. ”So I think if landscapers educate their clients that all our trees are different, and if arborists can understand that people care about their lawn as much as they care about their trees, then I think that we could help minimize those problems and challenges that lead to misunderstandings.”

He’s also excited about the advancements being made to equipment and technology. Chandler says he hopes to continue to see improvements made in terms of making labor easier.

“There’s a lot of emphasis towards making a lot of difficult things easier on our bodies,” he says. “Especially that physical labor stuff that can really hurt a person right there, that can lead to a potential career shortage.”

Chandler plans to graduate in December with a degree in environmental science and currently works as an arborist. He said he’s learned a lot about the future green industry work force from his peers.

“For me and a lot of my peers that I’m going to school with, we’re just really excited to make changes in the world and try new things and just really look at what we can improve and how we can do things differently,” he says. “Everybody I know that’s going into the green industry is just really excited to work and be creative.”