When the Colorado State University team traveled to the 41st Annual National Collegiate Landscape Competition, they knew they were facing some tough competitors. Despite facing a field of more than 60 of the top landscape programs in the country, the CSU team finished 3rd overall in the event held in March at BYU Provo.
“Our team is a perennial powerhouse at this competition,” said Zachary Johnson, who coaches the team along with Elizabeth Hobbs. Both Johnson and Hobbs are associate professors in CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, teaching in the Landscape Design and Contracting program. “Our students are consistently ranked in the top five in many of the individual competitions throughout the event.”
Of the 18 CSU students who traveled to the competition, several were top five finishers in individual events such as sales presentation; flower and foliage design; interior landscape design; and turf and weed identification.
Landscape Design and contracting student Jorge Solis represented CSU for the second year in a row, “The National Collegiate Landscape Competition was a great opportunity to represent the university while competing against hundreds of students from some of the top schools in horticulture,” said Solis. “The opportunity to build friendships and value based relationships with other students and with leaders throughout the green industry makes this competition a valuable opportunity for our students.”
In 1990, 2001 and 2014, CSU hosted the competition on the Fort Collins campus, and the university is scheduled to host the competition again in 2019. “We are excited to bring the Annual National Collegiate Landscape Competition back to campus in 2019,” said Johnson. “Our students are trained to understand and adapt to landscapes from climates all over the country, but being able to compete in our own backyard will undoubtedly position us for future success.”
Many CSU students find jobs and internships from interacting with industry professionals who also attend the competition and career fair. Travel to the annual competition is funded by landscape industry partners and student design work completed during their capstone design course, and three CSU students were awarded industry-funded scholarships at the awards ceremony held during the competition.
About the National Collegiate Landscape Competition
The National Collegiate Landscape Competition is an annual three-day competition and networking event for students enrolled in interior and exterior horticulture programs at two- and four-year colleges and universities from across the country. Each year, a different host location is selected, which gives the participants a chance to see different parts of the country and also increases the level of difficulty for some of the outdoor competitions. More than 750 landscape industry students demonstrate their skills in real-world, competitive events coupled with an outstanding career fair.