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Undergraduate Honors

National Collegiate Landscape Competition

National Collegiate Landscape Competition team photo

Among the best in the nation

Even the most skilled athletes rarely compete against more than 680 other competitors and win. Just entering such a contest requires determination and skill, and Anna Cordiner a senior studying Landscape Design and Contracting at Colorado State University, found herself overcoming such a daunting field. Cordiner was part of a CSU team that competed at this year’s National Collegiate Landscape Competition, an event that saw the CSU team finish 4th out of 63 teams and Cordiner finishing first overall among all individual competitors.

The entire CSU team was set up for success at this year’s competition, which is broken down into nearly 30 individual events. Cynthia Bachman finished first out of 72 students in the Plant Problems Diagnosis competition. Morgan Wiese also enjoyed a first place finish in the Exterior Landscape Design event against 42 other competitors. Overall, a top five finish for the CSU team is not surprising. Students representing CSU made the top 10 in their respective individual events 18 times.

“I cannot thank my teammates or coaches enough for all of their efforts. Everyone worked extremely hard,” said Cordiner. She has participated in the event for three years, and her area of expertise ranges from annual and perennial plant identification to business management and employee development.

Emphasis on professional development

Like many of her peers, Cordiner gravitated to the Landscape Design & Contracting and Landscape Business Concentrations at CSU because the programs offer professional and networking opportunities other majors didn’t. The emphasis placed on professional development helps students find positions in their chosen career paths when they leave CSU.  Cordiner recently accepted a design associate position with Lifescape Colorado, a landscape design and construction company in Denver, Colorado.

The CSU team was coached by Zachary Johnson and Elizabeth Hobbs, both associate professors in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.

“Preparing for the competition teaches students how to network and connect with other people, while they become more proud of their profession and gain self-confidence,” said Johnson.

Connecting students with professionals

Participating in the event connects students with professionals in the landscape industry and gives them the opportunity to see the world’s largest green industry career fair. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event which is organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). NALP is the national trade association representing more than 100,000 landscape industry professionals, who create and maintain healthy, green living spaces for communities across America. NALP members are committed to the highest standards in industry education, best practices, and business professionalism. Many of NALP’s professionals have attained the status of becoming Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the greatest level of industry expertise and knowledge. Visit NALP at

CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

To learn more about these two great concentrations, Landscape Design & Contracting and Landscape Business, both within the Environmental Horticulture major please visit the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture’s website. More information on the National Collegiate Landscape Competition can be found at the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ website.

Mid-American Collegiate Horticultural Society

Mid-American Collegiate Horticultural Society team pic

Plant Identification and Judging Team brings home honors from regional competition

When the Mid-American Collegiate Horticultural Society comes to the Colorado State University campus in 2018, the CSU Horticulture Club will build on what they learned from the 2016 competition. This year, the club sent eight members to Northwest Missouri State University to take part in the regional conference and competition, where the team placed second overall.

“Students attending regional horticulture competitions benefit from learning about regional horticultural practices,” said Jim Klett, professor of horticulture and landscape architecture and Extension landscape horticulturalist. “They develop lasting friendships with students from other universities and bring back ideas that CSU horticulture students can also benefit from.”

Individual and team champions

The Plant Identification and Judging Team, part of the Horticulture Club, competed in four events: herbaceous plant identification; woody plant identification; fruit/vegetable and nursery stock judging; and, a general knowledge exam. Four members of the team took part in the team competition and four members competed individually. The team placed first overall in herbaceous plant identification and one team member, Jackson Burkholder, a junior studying horticulture and landscape architecture, placed first overall in the individual competition and first in herbaceous plant identification out of 44 students.

The competition takes place over a period of three hours on the first day of the event, and then students have the opportunity to tour the host campus, seeing many of the horticulture facilities and plant growth operations around the campus.

Collegiate Horticulture Society competition 2018

The team is looking forward to the fall 2018 event, which was last held on the CSU campus about 10 years ago. Sheila Prentice, a junior studying horticulture and landscape architecture will serve as the event chair in 2018.

“Hosting the event at CSU will allow us to showcase the new CSU Horticulture Center, the Trial Gardens, and other cutting-edge spaces that we have here on campus,” said Prentice. “We are really excited to bring this annual conference to campus again.”

The Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture is part of CSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

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