WIU Students Bring Home Awards from Horticulture Conference
October 17, 2013
MACOMB, IL – Two Western Illinois University students each brought home an award from the Mid-America Association of Collegiate Horticulture Societies (MACHS) Conference in River Falls, WI, in early October.
According to Mari Loehrlein, professor of horticulture and landscaping in the WIU School of Agriculture, Kenley Szell (Roscoe, IL), a senior botany major, and Halie Brinkman (Coatsburg, IL), a senior agriculture major, won third place in the contests in which they competed at the MACHS Conference.
"The four contests included: a general knowledge exam; judging (fruits, vegetables, nursery and greenhouse plants); plant identification—woody plants; and plant identification—herbaceous plants," Loehrlein explained. "Halie placed third in the judging contest, and Kenley placed third in the general knowledge exam contest."
Loehrlein said the WIU students competed against students from six other universities, including the University of Minnesota, Crookston; University of Wisconsin–Platteville; Northwest Missouri State University; North Dakota State University; Iowa State University; and Colorado State University. The Western students who competed (which also included Gloria Diggs [Macomb, IL], a senior agriculture major, and Nicole Woodruff [Cuba, IL], a senior agriculture major) primarily prepared for the contests through their horticulture courses at Western. Loehrlein noted she also helped the students prepare by providing them with plant material to study, and they formed a study group to review general knowledge material.
"In addition to the contest, we visited half a dozen horticultural sites, including Bailey Nursery, the largest woody plant propagator in the United States and one of the largest in the world. We also had an inspiring guest speaker and a lot of good food, as well as time to develop networks with other future horticulturists across a wide geographic area," she noted.
The four students who attended the MACHS Conference this year are all officers of the WIU HortClub: Diggs, president; Szell, vice president; Woodruff, treasurer; and Brinkman, secretary.
For more information, contact Loehrlein at (309) 298-1089 or via email at MM-Loehrlein@wiu.edu.