Growing up on a Christmas tree farm in Calvert County, Maryland, Institute of Applied Agriculture student Luke Santerre naturally has an interest in the care of trees, but he wanted to expand his experience in the landscaping field. A Landscape Management major, Santerre interned at Kelly’s Tree and Lawn Service this past summer.
With its focus on tree service, landscaping, and nurseries, Kelly’s involved Santerre with tree grounds crews and landscape installations. “I have more respect for the labor side of this career,” says Santerre when asked about his internship, but he quickly adds that he was excited to have been part of the crew that met a tight time schedule and constructed a park in time for Governor Larry Hogan’s ribbon cutting ceremony. At the park, Santerre installed trees, shrubs, sod and hardscapes.
Santerre is proud of the work he did this summer getting the company’s new nursery cleaned up and looking beautiful, and he enjoyed the experience he gained installing hardscapes. He also worked on an irrigation repair job during which he had to figure out the best way to move water downhill without causing too much runoff. Santerre also spent a lot of time working on tree service jobs, which showed him that teamwork is the key to success. Santerre and his team removed stumps and took down large trees for clients.
Santerre really thought his IAA classes helped him this summer, especially his Woody Plant Identification class. Being able to identify plant materials by their common Latin names came in handy many times on different job sites.
Being raised on Calvert County’s only Christmas tree farm ignited Santerre’s early interest in agriculture, and his passion for landscaping has grown ever since. His courses at the IAA and his internship are just the start of Santerre’s landscaping career.