Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth in the landscape. It’s also time for the Professional Landcare Network’s (PLANET) Annual Student Career Days, otherwise known as the “Olympics of Landscaping,” which has been taking place each year for more than 30 years. Just as spring is starting anew, these students are embarking on fresh careers in the landscape industry.
During this event, which took place March 20 to 23 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., nearly 850 landscape and horticulture student “athletes” from 65 of the nation’s top horticulture and landscape programs competed in industry-based competitive events and visited with landscape businesses from across the country to explore internship and career opportunities. They also attended educational workshops to heighten their skills in the landscape and horticulture industry. The topics covered a wide-range of landscape specifics, including 3-D landscape design, efficient irrigation installation and techniques, hardscape design and installation, plant and weed identification and even business management, to name just a few. Also, the Professional Landcare Network’s Academic Excellence Foundation (AEF) awarded more than 70 deserving students with scholarships.
HighGrove Partners has been participating in and supporting Student Career Days for many years, and this year was no different. In addition to having a booth at the Student Career Fair to conduct interviews with prospective new interns and employees, HighGrove sponsored a competitive event and participated in various activities representing PLANET and AEF.
Student Career Days Attendees Have the Competitive Spirit
HighGrove was the lead sponsor of the Landscape Plant Installation event.
During this competitive event, which is the last event of the show, three-person teams (one from each school) install a variety of landscape materials, such as sod, soil amendments, mulch, tree staking and, of course, plants. Each team was given a plan that showed the exact relationship of materials to be installed and included an area between 100 and 400 square feet.
Teams were judged on the accuracy of their assembly compared to the plan they were given; quality of the final installed products, such as the smoothness of bed curves or the evenness of mulch application; and whether they used safe installation procedures. Each student team had to bring a measuring tape, an architect’s scale, two long-handled shovels, one hard rake, one mallet, safety glasses, boots and gloves. During the installation, they were also allowed to use marking flags, string, hand trowels, hand picks, additional shovels and rakes.
Congratulations to Alamance Community College’s team of Matt Case, Seaton Blackwood and Jeremy Kistler on winning the event! The other competing teams did a great job, too — lots of young talent out there.
The Green Industry Provides Great Career Opportunities
During PLANET’s Student Career Days, HighGrove professionals not only get to meet with students seeking internships and graduating seniors searching for industry job opportunities, but they also get a chance to network with college and university professors to discuss ways to better promote green industry careers.
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