University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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April 23, 2004

UW-River Falls Floral Evaluation Team Places Second

The UW-River Falls Floral Crop Quality Evaluation and Design Team placed second out of 10 university teams known for their exceptional horticulture programs at a national competition.

The 63rd National Intercollegiate Floral Crop Quality Evaluation and Design Competition was held at Colorado State University in Fort. Collins, Colo. March 31-April 2.

Other universities that participated include California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Pennsylvania State University and Oklahoma State University.

Students had to judge 31 different classes of floriculture plant material for quality characteristics. Plants ranged from common roses, geraniums and chrysanthemums to unusual plants from Australia, Hawaii and South Africa.

Individual members of the UW-RF team excelled in single events as well. For the first time in over 20 years of competition three UW-RF team members placed in the top 10 high individual overall category.

Horticulture majors Katie Pieper, a senior from Augusta, placed third; junior Andrew Mizgalski of Wausau placed fourth, and sophomore Rebecca Everson of Byron Minn., placed seventh in the high individual overall category.

Senior Lacy OConnell, a horticulture major from Wisconsin took first place in the Professional Category with her hand-tied European design, which included Twisted Bells of Ireland, gerbera, Eustoma, roses and florets of wax hot glued to arching strands of bear grass wrapped at the base in galax leaves.

Senior Amber Bauer, a horticulture major from Hastings, Minn., earned fourth place in the highly competitive Decorative Wreath Design in the professional category. She wired a grapevine wreath to a foam block and filled it with a variety of spring flowers, using lilies as the focal point.

Senior Kim Hadler, a horticulture major from Goodhue, Minn., captured fifth place in the Round Centerpiece Design division in the non-professional category. She filled a terra cotta pot with a wispy, colorful design.

Plant and earth science Professor and Coach Terry Ferriss attributes the students' success to hard work and the strong support of the two student assistant coaches, Lisa Haukom, a senior theatre and horticulture major from Rochester, Minn., and Kelsey Sparks, a senior business administration and horticulture major from Isanti, Minn.

Senior Jesse Hawker, an alternate for the team and a horticulture major from Rochester, Minn., also participated in the design contest.

During the students' time at Colorado State University, they toured an herbaceous perennials grower, a retail florist, two garden centers, the University horticulture research greenhouses, Denver Botanic Gardens and the production facility of Celestial Seasonings Tea Company.

Pi Alpha Xi National, the honor society for floriculture, landscape and ornamental horticulture, and the American Floral Endowment, a floriculture industry based foundation, sponsored the contest.


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