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Floral Evaluation Team Earns 2nd Place Finish Nationally

By Jonathan Drankwalter
UWRF University Communications

MAY 2, 2008--The UW-River Falls Floral Evaluation Team took second place at the 2008 National Intercollegiate Floral Crop Quality Evaluation and Design Competition held at the UW-Platteville in April.

The contest involved students evaluating and judging the quality of cut flowers and potted ornamental plants by identifying imperfections on the specimens. Students were required to judge quality characteristics and justify why they rated certain flowers and plants ahead of each other.

"It requires higher order thinking skills," said Terry Ferriss, head coach of UWRF's horticulture team. "Students use the development of their critical eye in the real world when buying or selling plant materials."

The UWRF team practiced during their free time to make sure they would place high nationally. During February and March the group spent two and a half hours each Thursday evening to prepare for the competition. They also spent some Saturdays dedicated to traveling to Minneapolis to train at a Bachmann's. On Fridays, the team would sell plant material in the agriculture science building in order to cover some of the costs to compete in the annual competition.  

The heavy training paid off with a second place team finish along with very good individual performances. The UWRF evaluation judges consisted of horticulture majors: Amanda Reckner of West Bend, Wis., Erin Steinmetz of Chippewa Falls, Wis., Kaitlin Campbell of Lonsdale, Minn., and Nicole Anderson of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., as the alternate.

Campbell placed fourth place individually in both the cut flowers and potted ornamental plants categories.

Steinmetz placed fifth place individually in both the cut flowers and potted ornamental plants categories.  

Anderson won first place in the Floral Design Competition in the category of asymmetrical floral design. "I felt special to win my award. I felt like the experience and knowledge that I gained from the Floral Evaluation Team, was something I would never get within a classroom setting," Anderson said.

Dena Heebink, of Baldwin, Wis., Melissa Fischer, of River Falls, Wis., and Alyssa Janilla, of Stillwater, Minn., were also part of the design team that had a strong showing in the national competition. Brandon Lowry, a past UWRF participant in the competition, acted as the assistant coach of the team.  

Cal Poly of San Luis Obispo edged out the UWRF team with the first place overall team finish.

When the students were not competing in the event, they toured two different agricultural business facilities. First, was the Agracetus Campus of Monsanto in Middleton, Wis. The company specializes in crop plant transformation and molecular biology, which houses research space and a 35,000 square foot greenhouse complex. The students were taken on a tour and observed the process of soybean transformation.

While in Middleton, the students also visited the Bruce Company, which is a multi-faceted business that specializes in nursery stock, home and garden, landscape design, landscape management, and even golf course construction.

Ferriss said, "This trip is a good way for students to develop networking within their same discipline with students from other universities. They compare curriculum and students come back to the UWRF campus with a higher level of motivation towards their studies. These dedicated students are the ones who will take the time and the initiative to become the future leaders in the field of horticulture."

The national event was co-sponsored nationally by Pi Alpha Xi, the National Honor Society for Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture, along with the American Floral Endowment. PAX and AFE support academic achievement, education and research activities of the floriculture and horticulture industries.

Cutlines (top, right): The UW-River Falls Floral Evaluation Team Enjoyed a 2nd place National Finish at the 2008 National Intercollegiate Floral Crop Quality Evaluation and Design Competition held at the UW-Platteville in April. Photo: Front row, L to R: Kaitlin Campbell, Erin Steinmetz, Amanda Reckner and Alyssa Janilla; back row, L to R: Brandon Lowry, assistant coach, Melissa Fischer, Dena Heebink and Nicole Anderson.

(Center, left) Nicole Anderson is pictured above with her asymmetrical floral design that won her 1st place in the Floral Design Competition at the 2008 National Intercollegiate Floral Crop Quality Evaluation and Design Competition held at the UW-Platteville in April.

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Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:09:01 Central Daylight Time

 

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