Marengo Resident Receives Full Scholarship for Degree in Horticulture
When Marengo resident August “Gus” Zimmerman began working summers at Grace Nursery, also in Marengo, little did he know how much it would advance his career. Gus recently graduated from Marengo Community High School and will be attending McHenry County Community College this fall, the recipient of a full scholarship for an Associate’s Degree in Horticulture from Grace Nursery and Sebert Landscaping, which owns the nursery.
“Gus has been working with us for the past couple years and shown great interest in horticulture, as well as being a model employee,” said Jeff Sebert, president of Sebert Landscaping. “We wanted to be able to help him pursue a career fueled by his passion for plants and the green industry.”
More than just a job
“When I first started working at Grace Nursery, I just needed a job,” says Gus. “Then I realized this is really interesting. I tried to memorize things my boss told me, like the different kinds of trees and how they need to be treated.
“I love being outside and working with the plants. This is really what I want to be doing.”
Gus took his first agriculture class during his senior year in high school. Because of all he had learned on the job at the nursery, he already knew much of the material in the introductory class. He wanted to learn more. So his teacher put him to work in the school’s greenhouse, where he pruned and watered the plants.
Then she made him greenhouse manager, with responsibilities that included running the hydroponic system, a method of growing plants without soil. “Using hydroponics, we grew spinach, cantaloupe, jalapenos, white icicle radish. “It was pretty cool,” says Gus, “and they tasted good, too.”
Greening the green industry
Gus will build on that experience with his college studies. “With my horticulture degree, I’ll have a certificate in greenhouse, landscape management and turf management. One of my classes will prepare me for green energy in Illinois. Knowing that Sebert Landscaping is going more green, I thought that was a nice coincidence.”
The first-ever Sebert Landscaping - Grace Nursery Scholarship will cover the costs of all tuition, fees and books until Gus obtains his Associate’s degree. He will continue to work at Grace Nursery on days off from school and during summers, with an eye toward a full-time position with the company upon graduation.
“I’m actually liking getting up at 6 am and working out in the nursery,” says the enthusiastic 18 year old. “After you get used to it, it’s so enjoyable.”
Sebert Landscaping (www.sebert.com) is a full-service commercial landscape contractor that has provided conventional landscape services to thousands of clients in metropolitan Chicago for over 25 years. Sebert uses lean management strategies to beautify clients’ properties while making them greener and potentially reducing their property-management costs. Based in Bartlett, IL – in a newly completed eco-friendly headquarters that is on track to be certified by the US Green Building Council – Sebert has branch offices in Elk Grove Village, Romeoville, Marengo, and Naperville. Sebert also owns and operates Grace Nursery, a 125-acre tree and shrub nursery in Marengo.