MSU Horticulture Club lands top-four finish for fourth consecutive year

posted on April 3, 2014 12:37pm

Members of the Michigan State University (MSU) Horticulture Club that represented the university at PLANET (Professional Landcare Network) Student Career Days held at Colorado State University in mid-March have reason to be proud.

MSU once again made a strong showing finishing in third place. This is the fourth consecutive year that MSU has finished in the top four.

The four-day experience consisted of educational workshops, a career fair and 28 competitive events that have been termed the Landscape Olympics. Team members competed against 743 students representing 65 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada.

The MSU team was composed of students majoring in horticulture and environmental biology/zoology as well as taking part in the Institute of Agricultural Technology Nursery and Landscape Program.

Team members include Cole Amstutz of Tecumseh, Mich.; Aaron Bosgraaf of Holland, Mich.; Emily Consigli of Milford, Mass.; Matt DaPra of Brighton, Mich.; Jeff Elshoff of Perry, Mich.; Brian Gayheart of Lake Orion, Mich.; Clayton Karle of Tipton, Mich.; Chris McKellar of Interlochen, Mich.; Michael McKernin of Valparaiso, Ind.; Katie Nickolaus of Addison, Mich.; Zachary Robinson of Pinckney, Mich.; Lauren Sieloff of Traverse City, Mich.; Bethany Troy of Lansing, Mich.; Kathleen Van Driessche of Bay City, Mich.; Zach Van Dyke of Fremont, Mich.; Megan Weidman of Grandville, Mich.; and Robert Zannini of Jackson, Mich. Team coaches, all from the Department of Horticulture, are Marcus Duck, specialist; Norm Lownds, associate professor; and Brad Rowe, professor.
 
Top 20 performances by MSU team members in individual events included: 

  • Elshoff, Irrigation Design (1st)
  • Robinson, 3D Exterior Landscape Design (1st)
  • Zannini, Business Management (1st)
  • Team of DaPra and Elshoff, Landscape Maintenance Operations (1st)
  • Van Dyke, Construction Cost Estimating (2nd)
  • McKellar, Annual and Perennial ID (3rd)
  • DaPra, Maintenance Cost Estimating (4th)
  • McKernin, Business Management (4th)
  • McKellar, Woody Plant ID (4th)
  • Troy, Interior Plant ID (5th)
  • Karle, Compact Track Loader Operation (5th)
  • Team of Elshoff and Zannini, Irrigation Troubleshooting (5th)
  • Team of DaPra and Van Dyke, Wood Construction (6th)
  • Team of McKernin and Van Dyke, Hardscape Installation (9th)
  • Consigli, Plant Problem Diagnosis (10th)
  • Weidman, Annual and Perennial ID (10th)
  • Robinson, Sales Presentation (11th)
  • Consigli, Computer-Aided Design (12th)
  • Team of Elshoff and Van Dyke, Irrigation Assembly (13th)
  • Zannini, Woody Plant ID (15th)
  • Team of McKellar and Sieloff, Personnel Management (16th)
  • Consigli, Construction Cost Estimating (17th)
  • Nicholaus, Maintenance Cost Estimating (17th)
  • Amstutz, Tractor Loader Backhoe Operation (20th)
  • Troy, Leadership Skills (20th)

Top scorers for MSU were Elshoff (431), Van Dyke (411), DaPra (346), Zannini (252), McKellar (230), Robinson (213), Troy (184) and McKernin (181). Among the 743 students competing, Elshoff placed third for the most total points scored by an individual.
 
Elshoff, McKellar, Nickolaus, Van Dyke and Zannini were awarded scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 from the PLANET Education Foundation. For winning the irrigation design competition, Elshoff was awarded an all-expenses paid trip to attend the American Society of Irrigation Consultants National Conference.
 
While on the trip, the team also visited the Denver Botanic Gardens and Rocky Mountain National Park. Team members worked diligently all year raising money to finance the trip through Horticulture Club activities such as their Spring Show.

They also acknowledge the following sponsors for their support:

  • Barkham & Company, Williamston, Mich.
  • Bartlett Tree Experts, Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Cottage Home, Inc., Holland, Mich.
  • Davey Tree, Kent, Ohio
  • Dramm Corporation, Manitowoc, Wisc.
  • Drost Landscape, Petoskey, Mich.
  • MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Alumni Association
  • Old House Gardens, Ann Arbor, Mich.
  • Outdoor Expressions, East Lansing, Mich.
  • Three C’s Landscaping, Fraser, Mich.
  • Traverse Outdoor, Traverse City, Mich.
  • True Trim Lawn Care, Coldwater, Mich.