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Landscape Architecture Advisory Board meets with faculty and students on campus

In 2017, the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture formed a Landscape Architecture Alumni Advisory Board to provide advice to our faculty and department head regarding how best to prepare our students for the future of the profession. The Board is made up of 11 alumni who graduated from CSU as early as 1986 up until as recently as 2009. Our first meeting took place at Norris Design’s Denver office on April 24, 2017, and we shared a nice lunch and discussed ideas for improving the Landscape Architecture program and enhancing engagement with the professional community.

We welcomed the Board to campus on December 9, 2017 for a meeting with the Landscape Architecture faculty followed by a luncheon with our current Landscape Architecture students. The luncheon took place on the 6th floor of the new stadium, where views of the football field to the east and the arboretum, practice field, and foothills to the west are wonderful! Our alumni led discussions with students about the profession of landscape architecture, sharing their personal career paths and best career advice. We appreciate our alumni building community and sharing their time with our students!

From the Department Head, Jessica G. Davis

HLA is a community of connections. Our students get to know each other through class projects and club activities, and those relationships continue beyond graduation and grow into professional networks. Our graduate students work side-by-side in the field, greenhouse, and lab, and connections take root. Our alumni play key roles in mentoring our students, training them in real-world practices, and introducing them to the professional community.  Our faculty learn about the challenges to industry through our alumni, and then craft research projects and community education efforts to meet those challenges.

On February 2, faculty from our department hosted about 50 people to brainstorm ways to collaborate to enhance urban communities through horticulture and urban design. We brought Dr. Kathleen Wolf from the University of Washington to broaden our view to include the psycho-social benefits of urban green spaces. Dr. Wolf challenged us to collaborate broadly to improve urban communities. Cities were represented including Fort Collins, Loveland, Westminster, and Denver, specifically, their Parks, Forestry, and Water Conservation units. Non-profits such as Groundwork, Denver Food Rescue, High Plains Environmental Center and Food Bank of the Rockies joined in, too. Schools from Denver and Jefferson County also participated, along with other CSU departments, such as Health and Exercise Science, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Psychology, Agricultural & Resource Economics, CSU Extension, and the School of Public Health. By working together and expanding our networks, we can grow our impact not just on plants, but on human lives and communities.

Recent graduate helping manage some of southern California’s largest landscape construction projects

My name is Jorge Solis, I graduated recently with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Horticulture, and my concentration was in Landscape Design and Contracting. During my time at Colorado State University, I had the opportunity to participate in various horticulture organizations. As a member of the Student Organization of Landscape Design and Contracting, I participated in the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, which hosts more than sixty universities from around the nation. I was lucky enough to have competed alongside many extremely dedicated and intelligent CSU graduates, and with their help was able to place within the top five in my individual events and within the top three overall.

After graduating, I took a landscape design position in Boulder, with residential design/build firm, L.I.D. Landscapes, where I had completed internships the previous two summers. I worked directly with the architects and designers developing working construction documents for presentation and installation. I received my Certified Landscape Technician certification from the National Association of Landscape Professionals in the fall of 2017, and hope to work towards others like the Certified Irrigation Designer and Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor, as well as a Registered Landscape Architects license.

At the beginning of 2018, my wife and I decided it was time for a big change and so we relocated. I took a project management position with BrightView Landscape Development in Los Angeles, California. Although a very intense change of pace, I’m helping manage some of southern California’s largest landscape construction projects. Projects like the new Los Angeles Football Club stadium, Pepperdine University in Malibu, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, and various other projects.

My wife, Catrina, studies fashion design at Colorado State and is currently doing an internship in downtown Los Angeles. During our free time, we love going to the beach with our two dogs, Luna and Poppy. When we’re not out exploring the city, I spend my time drawing, playing guitar, and learning about all the plants that grow here in Los Angeles.

Dr. Jorge Vivanco works to create the next generation of products and technologies in agriculture

Dr. Jorge Vivanco is a Professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Colorado State University. He received a B.S. degree in Agronomy from the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Lima, Peru, and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from The Pennsylvania State University.  He joined CSU in 2000 to start a program on root biology and the interactions of roots with surrounding organisms.

The primary responsibility of Dr. Vivanco’s program is to develop knowledge on root-microbe interactions related to horticultural crops that could lead to new agricultural technologies and applications.  His program interacts with stakeholders such as horticultural producers and companies interested in this scientific space to create the next generation of products and technologies in agriculture.  In addition, knowledge derived from this program is disseminated to the potato growers in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, as well as to horticultural producers in Colorado and abroad.

Dr. Vivanco’s laboratory has published extensively on these topics (133 research papers), and he has edited two books. His current research focuses on the interactions of roots with the soil microbiome. Recent research suggests that roots can culture specific microbes and microbial functions depending on the stage of development and needs of the crop.  Teasing apart these observations through continued experimentation will catalyze the next agricultural revolution – one that promotes sustainability. This agricultural awakening will involve utilizing the full genetic potential of a crop to promote soil microbial diversity, health and resilience.

Dr. Vivanco interacts closely with the scientific community as a reviewer of scientific publications, research grants and as an Associate Editor of the journal Microbial Ecology. On December 18th, 2014 he was invited to attend a round table discussion in the Office of Science and Technology (OST) of the U.S. White House.  The purpose of this meeting was to initiate discussions to educate the OST on the science, applications and policy related to The Microbiome.  The associate director of this office had weekly meetings with President Obama and wanted to bring this topic to his attention for further development, which is currently ongoing.  Dr. Vivanco has taught the graduate course Roots and Rhizosphere Biology and currently teaches Medicinal and Value Added Uses of Plants.

Dr. Vivanco is married to Dr. Tiffany Weir (Associate Professor of Food Sciences at CSU) and has two sons: Jorge and John. He and his family enjoy travelling to new places to experience new cultures and food.

Dr. Michael Bartolo

Dr. Mike Bartolo is a Senior Research Scientist, Extension Vegetable Crops Specialist, Manager, and seemingly holder of many titles at the Arkansas Valley Research Center (AVRC) in Rocky Ford.  He readily admits to being a native of the Arkansas Valley, having grown up on a small farm east of Pueblo, about 45 miles west of the AVRC. In 1984, he completed his undergraduate degree at CSU in Bio-Agricultural Science (not related to the of today) and stayed on at CSU to complete his M.S. degree in Horticulture in 1986, studying cold hardiness under the direction of Dr. Steve Wallner.  He went on to complete his Ph.D. in Plant Physiology at the University of Minnesota in 1990.  In case you may have wondered, the instructors and advisors he had at CSU, including the Department of HLA, were phenomenal and instrumental to his career choices and successes.  Similar things can be said for his time in Minnesota but that experience also left him with a slight Norwegian accent and an unnatural affinity for ice fishing and lutefisk.

After graduate school, Mike continued his journey with CSU, starting his research and outreach program at the AVRC in January of 1991. In 2003, he added the responsibility of being Manager of the facility.

Mike’s research has been about as diverse as one could imagine, encompassing  just about every segment of agriculture including pest management, irrigation, soils, variety development, and more recently, food safety.   He has done studies on over 20 types of crops (literally, from alfalfa to zucchini) with emphasis on melons, onions, and peppers.

Several of the research and outreach accomplishments of note are the development of drip and plasticulture techniques to enhance intensive vegetable production as well as the construction, installation, and operation of two weighing lysimeters at the AVRC.  Mike was a founding member of the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.  He also developed several chile pepper varieties including “Mosco”, which is the predominant type of Pueblo Chile.

He attributes his ability to work on such a wide range of issues to the wonderful latitude and support from his administrators and great collaborations and relationships he has enjoyed with growers and other faculty across many departments.  When he is not spending time on the AVRC, he sits on several local and regional boards, tends his own farm, and shares outdoor activities with his family.

He has a wonderful wife (Kyle) of 29 years who has patiently come to understand that when he says, “I’m just going to check on a couple things at the farm,” he means “I will see you in about four hours.”  On occasion, before marriage, Kyle would accompany him to the third floor of Shepardson to watch him nucleate pear cell suspensions or some other lab activity which may have fostered the illusion that “this bumpkin may have some kind of future”. They have two bright and occasionally attentive children (Andy, 23 and Samantha, 19) who have embarked on their own educational journeys but visit the empty-nesters occasionally to rid them of those pesky stockpiles of food and laundry soap

HLA Department staff and faculty receive awards

Brian Mitchell, a Horticulture MS student working under the guidance of Dr. Mark Uchanski, was named a Vice President for Research (VPR) Fellow. He competed in the 3-minute Challenge and gave his 3-minute presentation on his thesis topic, “Does Fruit Cluster Pruning Improve Organic Tomatoes in High Tunnels?” As students quickly summarized their research, judges from across the university and from local industry scored on criteria associated with the content and comprehension of the presentation, as well as students’ effective engagement and communication skills.

As a VPR Fellow, Brian will receive $4,000 in scholarship and travel support. Fellows will also participate in professional development workshops, mentorship, leadership and engagement opportunities over the 2018-19 academic year.

This initiative was created in 2016 by the Office of the Vice President for Research to support excellence in graduate research and scholarly works and to promote cross-college and cross-department collaborations. Participants in the 3 Minute Challenge were selected from the CSU Graduate School’s Graduate Student Showcase.

Natalie Yoder, a Research Associate in the Specialty Crops program, was selected for the Larimer County Agriculture Advisory Board. The Agricultural Advisory Board advises the Board of County Commissioners and county departments on issues that affect production agriculture and agri-business in the County.

The Agricultural Advisory Board bylaws call for at least ten members, of the 15-member board, to be involved in agricultural production such as crops, livestock, or dairy products, and the Board reflects this diversity. Representation from various segments of the agricultural economy, such as traditional and high value crops, are sought.

Natalie came to CSU to go to graduate school in 2012 and completed her MS degree in 2014 with her thesis on “Organic Fertilizer Comparison on Kale (Brassica spp.) Varietal Yield and Nutritional Content.”  Natalie came to Colorado with a diverse background, having been the owner of Nanny Goat Farms (a backyard vegetable and ornamental garden installation and maintenance company) and a plant diagnostician with The Natural Gardener (both in Austin, TX). After that, she was an AmeriCorps volunteer in Santa Clara, California, where she served as program coordinator of the Santa Clara University student farm.

Dr. Ioannis Minas, an Assistant Professor of Pomology, was recently recognized with the Friend of the Industry Award From the Western Colorado Horticultural Society, an important sign that the growers appreciate his commitment to solid science that helps them improve their production and storage practices and grow their bottom lines. Ioannis (pronounced yawn-is) grew up on a peach orchard in Greece, so he has a unique ability to be able to apply science in practical ways that growers appreciate.

Dr. Minas was also recently named the national coordinator of the peach rootstock trials, illustrating his national leadership in peaches. He recently moved to campus from the Western Colorado Research Center, and his move will facilitate his teaching pomology courses and leading a graduate training program in pomology at CSU. His research and extension activities will continue to be focused on the West Slope.

Congratulations, Brian, Natalie, and Ioannis!

Scholarships have a positive impact on our students

“Thanks for helping me to make my dreams become a reality.” Kelci Van Treese, Stihl Scholarship recipient (Environmental Horticulture ’17)

“I am grateful for this opportunity and I appreciate your belief in me. It is with great honor that I accept this gift with the intention to better the world by first bettering myself.” Harley Combs, Clyde and Roberta Abbett Scholarship recipient (Horticulture ‘18)

“By utilizing the knowledge I will continue to gain from my time at CSU, I will be able to achieve my goals and contribute to the modernization of conventional agriculture.” Mike DiLegge, Swingle-Sinnamon Scholarship recipient (Horticulture ’17)

[tbl caption=”Congratulations to our Fall 2017 Graduates”]
Graduate, Degree,Program
Allen Arrieta,B.S.,Landscape Architecture
Brianna Bade,B.S., Horticulture
Andrew Baklaich,B.S.,Landscape Architecture
Daniel Boyer,B.S.,Horticulture
Janice Cancino,B.S., Environmental Horticulture
Precious Duyao,B.S.,Landscape Architecture
Harley Gifford,B.S.,Horticulture
Tugg Hutchins,B.S.,Horticulture
Farrel Jennings,B.S.,Horticulture
Travis Kapetan,B.S.,Horticulture
Jared Kief,B.S.,Environmental Horticulture
Carina Kutch,B.S.,Horticulture
Josh Lambright,B.S.,Environmental Horticulture
Austin Magness,B.S.,Horticulture
Becky Oxer,B.S.,Horticulture
Jourdyn Russell,Minor,Horticulture
David Salamie,B.S.,Environmental Horticulture
Jason Shimmel,B.S.,Environmental Horticulture
Rachael Stoud,B.S.,Horticulture
Fatima Al Houti ,M.S.,Horticulture
Yiran Chen,M.S.,Horticulture
Hanan Isweiri,Ph.D.,Horticulture

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