MSU Horticulture Club places second in national competition

posted on March 25, 2015 7:38pm

The Michigan State University (MSU) Horticulture Club took home the silver medal and a horticulture senior took top honors last week at the Landscape Olympics.

The competition is held as a part of the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days, March 12-15. The four-day event consisted of educational workshops, a career fair and 28 competitive events that make up the Landscape Olympics.

This year, nearly 800 students representing 65 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada competed in the event.

The Horticulture Club placed second in the competition, its fifth consecutive top four 10 appearance. MSU students placed in the top 15 in more than 25 individual events. Club members also beat competitors from several other Big Ten schools, including Penn State, Ohio State, Illinois and Purdue.

“Our success is due to our undergraduate curriculum, faculty willing to invest the time and energy, and students willing to make the sacrifice of the time it takes to compete,” said Brad Rowe, co-head coach and professor in the MSU Department of Horticulture.

Zach Van Dyke, a horticulture senior, placed first overall by scoring the most individual points among the 800 competitors. Although Zach said he loves the competition during PLANET, he also values the educational and professional opportunities it presents.

“Possibly the most important parts of the whole thing are all of the networking opportunities and connections I make during the event,” Van Dyke said. “We get to meet some of the best business owners in the country and ask them critical questions that can help us be better in the future.”

Marcus Duck, co- head coach and specialist in the Department of Horticulture, echoed the importance of the event for professionalism in the industry.

“The general public is very unaware of the impact our students and industry can have on the environment and human well-being. It’s more than just making places look pretty,” Duck said.

While on the trip, the team also visited the Biltmore Estate and Gardens in Asheville, Sarah Duke Gardens at Duke University, a green roof field production site of Xeroflor America in Durham, and the J.C. Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University.

The team raised funds throughout the year to participate in the Landscape Olympics. A large portion of the funds were raised during the club’s annual Spring Show.

To find out about this year’s Spring Show, visit the club’s Spring Show page