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Oct. 9, 2016
Northwest Missouri State University hosted the annual Mid-America Collegiate Horticulture Society conference this weekend, providing an opportunity for horticulture students from throughout the Midwest to test their knowledge, explore the profession and build bonds with future colleagues.
This fall marked the first time Northwest had hosted the conference since 2008. It drew about 50 students from the universities of Colorado State, Minnesota Crookston, Iowa State, North Dakota State and South Dakota State.
“It’s exciting that we get to host,” Jessica Bonnot, a senior horticulture major from Liberty, Missouri, said. “Usually we go to other schools to compete, but it’s nice to show people what kind of program we have here at Northwest and how we might do things a little bit differently.”
The conference included a tour Friday afternoon of Northwest’s Missouri Arboretum and tree-climbing exercise with representatives of Davey Tree, a horticultural and environmental services company with operations throughout North America.
“They use it for a recruiting tool because they’re needing employees,” said Rego Jones,
senior instructor of horticulture at Northwest. “Their crew rigs trees on campus and they show students how to harness and get them up in the trees. It’s important for arborists to be up there doing tree trimming and removal.”
Additionally, students toured Powell Gardens as well as Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas, to learn about the field’s under-soil heating and cooling system. Friday morning the students participated in a general knowledge exam that tested their abilities to judge and identify a variety of plants and vegetables.
Bonnot plans to complete her bachelor’s degree at Northwest in the spring and pursue a career in the horticulture field. She said one of the most valuable pieces of the annual conferences are the opportunities to network with participating businesses and meet other students interested in the industry.
“There’s so many options out there when it comes to horticulture,” she said. “I don’t think people realize how many things you really can do. I could go work at a pineapple plantation or I could go design landscape beds for Disney World. There’s all sorts of great things that we could do.”
Northwest’s Bachelor of Science in horticulture is one of 14 academic programs offered by its growing School of Agricultural Sciences. Students gain profession-based experience at the 448-acre Wright Farm, which is home to beef, swine, dairy and sheep enterprises as well as row and forage crops.
Northwest and its School of Agricultural Sciences also are in the planning stages for an Agricultural Learning Center to be built at the Wright Farm. When completed, the estimated $8.5 million, 29,000-square-foot center will serve as a multipurpose facility, providing laboratory resources and research to supplement and enhance the academic curriculum. The space also will allow for greater use of farm crop, soil and livestock resources for research and scholarly activities as well as space for processing agricultural products. It will include space for public and private functions such as producer and agricultural industry meetings, workshops, shows and career development events, and the promotion of agricultural literacy.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468