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UWRF Floral Team Fares Well at Nationals

By Kendra Knutson
APRIL 23, 2007--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Floral Evaluation Team traveled to Oklahoma in March to participate in the 66 th National Intercollegiate Floral Crop Quality Evaluation and Design Contest.

The team judged its way to a second place finish overall. A few other students participated in creating floral designs that led them to individual placings for their respective categories.   

"The second place finish reflects the competency our students have in working with horticultural plant materials," said Terry Ferriss, UWRF horticulture professor, Horticulture Society advisor and floral evaluation team coach.

The annual event is co-sponsored by Pi Alpha Xi (a national honor society for horticulture) and the American Floral Endowment (AFE). Each year the competition's location is rotated among different four-year collegiate institutions, with about 11 teams participating. This year's contest was held at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  

With several different categories in which to participate, students can choose to judge plants or design different types of centerpieces and bouquets. Each category has a time limit along with set rules for judging and designing.  

"Students learn to identify plant quality characteristics along with developing the ability to evaluate and differentiate the quality characteristics between plants," said Ferriss.

Teams also get a feeling for expressing themselves by verbally explaining their reasons behind merits and faults of plants. According to Ferriss, the competition is an excellent way for students to get hands-on experience with skills they will use professionally as they work to provide the highest quality of horticultural plant products.  

In order to practice for the competition, students held team meetings each week that included different flowers to judge and items to design supplied by Ferriss. The students held weekly sales with the arrangements they designed.

"Creating arrangements on Friday mornings at the weekly sales was by far my favorite part," said Lena Ruesch, a junior horticulture major from Westboro, Wis. "Working with the customers to create something that made them happy was very rewarding."

Danielle Huper, a freshman horticulture major from Alden, Minn., also enjoyed partaking in this event. "My favorite part of the trip was all the different things we got to see--the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, Teleflora, and botanical gardens--overall it was a great experience," said Huper.  

The judging team included: Brandon Lowry, a sophomore horticulture major from River Falls, Wis., Huper, Valerie Lemens, a senior horticulture major from Denmark, Wis., and alternate Brandi Werstovshek , a junior horticulture major from Loyal, Wis. Shelly Wollerman, a junior horticulture major from Fond du Lac, Wis., and Ruesch, served as assistant coaches for the team.    

The design team included Michaela Molter, a senior horticulture major from Mazomanie, Wis., Ruesch, Kyle Vergin, a junior horticulture major from Berlin, Wis., and Alyssa Janilla, a sophomore horticulture major from Stillwater, Minn .

Team results are as follows: 2 nd high individual in judging potted plants: Huper; 3 rd high individual in judging potted plants: Lowry; 5 th in judging cut flowers: Lemens; 1 st place bridal bouquet design: Molter; 3 rd place round centerpiece; participation in asymmetrical triangle: Vergin; participation in tiered table centerpiece: Janilla.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:15 Central Daylight Time


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