Colorado State University Students Win First Place in Landscape Competition

Colorado State University students took home the gold in the national landscaper olympics, more formally titled the 2005 PLANET Student Career Days, held March 19-22. The Colorado State team, which included 16 students from the landscape design and contracting, turf grass and floriculture concentrations, took home a $5,000 grand prize.  

Held at the University of Maryland, the event drew 800 students from 57 colleges and universities across the county to compete in 23 events including designing irrigation systems, exterior plant installation, cost estimating and sales presentation. Events were written and judged by sponsors of the event.

The landscaping competition is open to students enrolled in horticulture and landscape contracting programs from colleges and universities across the country. The students have the opportunity to exhibit their skills related to horticulture and landscaping while meeting prospective employers.

"This is a tremendous honor for our program," said Elizabeth Mogen, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. "The students, who exhibited their green industry talents in competing for Colorado State and for personal titles, also were able to showcase their skills for potential employers."

Other colleges and universities involved in the competition included Virginia Tech, California State Polytechnic University, Michigan State University, Kansas State University, University of Maryland, Brigham Young University, Utah State, Auburn State University, Ohio State University and Penn State.

Colorado State is one of 17 universities that have an accredited horticulture and landscaping program. This is the third time in the past five years that Colorado State has won first place.

Students took home medals in a variety of events, which included Annual and Perennial Identification, in which students have 90 seconds per plant and must identify 50 of 350 plants, with the correct name and spelling of the plant, both scientific and common; Irrigation Trouble Shooting, in which a group of professionals who work in irrigation judge the students, within a two-hour time frame, as they process and analyze an irrigation system that is not working properly; and Construction Cost-Estimating, where a student is given a plan and has to determine the cost to install the job, including time, labor and amount of materials needed.  

Winners from the Colorado State team include:

Annual and Perennial Identification – Amy Erfling, Boulder, Colo., fifth place; and Brennon Miles, Fort Collins, Colo., sixth place.

Compact Utility Loader Operation – Aaron Kiselich, Colorado Springs, Colo., fifth place.

Exterior Landscape Design – Courtney Lockwood, Fort Collins, Colo., first place.

Construction Cost Estimating – Meghan Bowser, Parker, Colo., first place; and Lisa Somnis, Worthington, Minn., fourth place.

Interior Landscape Design – Courtney Lockwood, Fort Collins, Colo., third place.

Irrigation Trouble Shooting – Chad Whitney, Grand Junction, Colo., fifth place.

Personnel Management – Clark Taylor, Denver, Colo.; and Meghan Oren, Montrose, Colo., second place.

Woody Ornamental Plant Identification – Amy Erfling, Boulder, Colo., third place.

More than 60 landscaping companies, including STIHL, Ariens, Gravely, Toro Company, John Deere Landscapes, Caterpillar, CoCal Landscape Services, TruGreen Companies and The Brickman Group, sponsored the event.