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Horticulture and Natural Resources

Featured Stories From 2019

Fall 2019 HNR Graduates

Horticulture Graduates
Wildlife & Outdoor Enterprise Manangement Graduates
Park Management & Conservation Graduates

Congratulations to the graduating seniors from the Horticulture and Natural Resources Department. Fall commencement was held on Saturday, December 14th at Bramlage Coliseum.

Horticulture Class Constructs a Poinsettia Tree

Poinsettia TreeStop by the first floor lobby of Throckmorton Plant Science Building to see the beautiful poinsettia tree on display and take a selfie! Jacob Hueste, the Throckmorton greenhouse manager and horticulture student greenhouse workers, Lane Wiens and Haley Burgett, assembled the tree. Poinsettias are one of the most popular floriculture plants grown and marketed for Christmas.

The “tree” is made up of several different poinsettia varieties grown by undergraduate students from fall the Greenhouse Operations Management course (HORT 570), taught by Dr. Kim Williams. The class started the crop from cuttings or small plants and grew them to full color for the holiday season. The class was responsible for managing the growth and development of the plants, including fertilization, watering, and other growing considerations. A couple hundred beautiful plants were produced, that included a variety of colors.

The end goal was to produce a saleable crop for the KSU Gardens annual poinsettia sale. In addition to growing poinsettias as a hands-on learning activity for the greenhouse class, Dr. Williams, along with undergraduate students and graduate student, Karen Schneck, have been conducting poinsettia research for the floriculture industry.

Faculty Plan, Judge National FFA Floriculture CDE

Kim Williams
Irina Sheshukova

Two HNR faculty, Kim Williams and Irina Sheshukova, participated in the recent National FFA Floriculture Career Development Event in Indianapolis. Williams is on the national Planning Committee and Sheshukova served as a judge for two events.

In addition, three current K-State Horticulture students had earned the opportunity to represent their home states in Floriculture at nationals. K-State was well-represented!

K-State Park Management & Conservation Associate Professor Wins Academic Leadership Award

Dr. Sharp AwardDr. Ryan Sharp, associate professor in the park management and conservation program at Kansas State University, was recently honored with the Benton H. Box Award by the Clemson University Institute for Parks in recognition of his academic and instructional leadership in the environmental field.

The institute presents the annual awards program, which is named for George B. Hartzog Jr., the seventh director of the National Park Service, to showcase leading figures in the field of conservation. Specific awards were named after visionary leaders that Hartzog respected and admired. Award recipients are following in Hartzog’s footsteps by making significant contributions to the management of parks and preservation of our natural, historical, and cultural heritage. Read more...

Miller to Judge International Proflora Floriculture Trade Show

Chad Miller with FlowersChad Miller, Associate Professor in the Horticulture and Natural Resources Department, recently participated in the 15th Proflora Exposition in Bogota, Colombia (Oct. 2-4). Miller was one of three invited international judges and served as the head judge for the exposition. Proflora is an international floriculture trade-show event held every two years and is organized by Asocolflores, the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters. Colombia has been a significant cut flower exporter to the United States for over 50 years.

Plant breeders, cut flower producers, and floriculture product suppliers from over 10 different countries showcased their products at the 2019 Proflora. As a part of the judging competition, flower growers and breeders submit cut flower entries to be judged and recognized as having outstanding varieties. There were over 350 different entries that included carnations, roses, chrysanthemums, alstroemeria, and other flower species.

Rivard to Receive Sustainable Agriculture Grant

Cary Rivard at Kansas State University in Olathe, KS has been recently selected to receive a $89,443 grant from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) for the project, "Capacity Building in Urban Food Systems in the North Central Region."

"The goal of this project is to provide educators (extension, not-for-profits, K-12, and community college) with opportunities to establish themselves as leaders in urban food systems," said Rivard. Read more...

Sikorsky Receives Conference Scholarship

Kristen SikorskyPMC graduate student, Kristen Sikorsky, receiving a scholarship to attend the National Recreation and Parks Association conference in Annapolis, MD.

Student Spotlight, Ethan Taylor - Lawn & Landscape


At one time, Ethan Taylor figured he would end up in the Marines. That's what his role model and uncle, John Taylor, did when he graduated high school, and it's what a lot of Ethan's peers did as they grew up, too. Ethan grew up in a suburb near New Orleans, where many of his classmates dropped out of school. His brother and mother each did that, albeit at separate times, and Ethan – the "black sheep," as he calls himself – wondered if college was even going to be an option for him.

He also says he was in a rocky spot with his family, so when his uncle stepped in and relocated him to Houston at 15 years old, he was exposed to a whole different world. Read more...

Swimming Upstream - Lawn & Landscape


Contractors and educators alike are trying to find ways to properly teach irrigation methods to college students. Just a few weeks ago, Kansas State's Cathie Lavis addressed a room full of homeowners and contractors to give them the basics on irrigation work.

Lavis says – pun intended – that she was trying to "water down" the presentation to make sure nothing went over anybody's head. The information she shared would give them enough background knowledge to keep their lawns green and that's about it. But some of the contractors seemed to already know how to do what Lavis told them, and they clearly had worked in the industry for several years and had plenty of experience. Read more...

Undergraduate Students Spend Two Weeks Studying Abroad

StudyAbroad2019Twenty-two undergraduate students from the Horticulture, Agricultural Education, Milling Science, and Engineering departments at K-State recently completed a two-week study abroad experience in Western Europe. Drs. Chad Miller and Cathie Lavis led the students through four different countries; the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. (Technically five countries as we had a brief stop in Germany as well!) The educational trip included several visits to a wide array of horticulture, cultural, and historical sites. Students experienced first hand Dutch greenhouse production, including a cut flower hydrangea grower and breeder; potted gerbera plant facility that was highly mechanized and automated; and a greenhouse tomato production demonstration facility.

The group also visited the Keukenhof, one of the major bulb display gardens in the world and Hortus Botanicus in Leiden, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world! Students experienced the Alkmaar Cheese Market and toured and learned about beer brewing at Heineken. The group also learned about Royal Delft Pottery and the importance and function of windmills in the Netherlands at the UNESCO World Heritage site at Kinderdijk. In Belgium the group learned about horticulture and landscape architecture from Peter Wirtz at Wirtz International, a world-renowned landscape architect. In Luxembourg, students learned about wine production at the Bernard-Massard facility. In France, students visited Giverny and Claude Monet's gardens, which were in full color, followed by a stop at Versailles. The group had a day to explore Paris and many of the sites including the Eifel Tower and the Arc de Triumph. The trip finished with a visit to Omaha Beach and the nearby American Military Cemetery.

Barden Hosts International Exchange

BardenHostProfessor Charles Barden annually organizes a trip for international students to the Wamego Tulip Festival, held each spring, followed by a cookout at his home. Most of the students and interns were alumni from Zamorano University located in Honduras, although the students come from throughout Central and South America. He notes that the interns are here on a J-1 Visa, and one of the requirements to host a scholar on that type of visa, is to provide some American cultural experiences, hence the visit to the arts and crafts festival, to see a classic slice of Americana! This year 16 students and interns participated in the event! The cultural experience is a two-way street, with Barden providing the traditional U.S. cookout menu (s'mores anyone?"), while many of the students prepared favorite festival dishes to share from their own countries.

Students Can Get Involved in the Global Food Systems Initiative

KGudeK-State's Global Food Systems Initiative provides students in a variety of disciplines with opportunities to explore innovation, outreach and workforce development. Kelly Gude, a doctoral student in horticulture with emphasis on nutritional values of fruits and vegetables, is one of those students.

Gude is researching nutrition chemistry and the effect that light intensity and spectral quality play on the nutrient density of fresh vegetables. Read more...

Park Management Students & Faculty Attend Conference & Receive Scholarships

PMCDr. Sharp and several students from the Park Management and Conservation Lab recently attended the National Outdoor Recreation Conference in Rapid City, SD. All of the student presented a talk or a poster and three students, Michael Brunson, Sarah Jackson and Dani Dagan received scholarships from the Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals.

Goossen Awarded $7,500 Shinoda Scholarship

RGoossenRenata Goossen, major in Horticulture Production, has been awarded a $7,500 scholarship from the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which is the largest scholarship ever awarded by this organization. This highly competitive program awards scholarships to U.S. students who are specializing in Floriculture and plan to work in the commercial floriculture industry during their careers. Renata is a junior at K-State who is active in Horticulture Club and will be completing an internship at Green Circle Growers in Ohio during Fall 2019. Congratulations, Renata!

Schneck's Undergraduate Research Recognized

KSchneckKaren Schneck was awarded recognition as one of the Top Three posters of Gamma Sigma Delta's Undergraduate Research Showcase on Friday, April 26. Schneck presented her Fall 2018 research with Dr. Kim Williams, 'Updating Poinsettia Graphical Tracking Curves for Greenhouse Growers'. She is now pursuing a M.S. in Horticulture with Dr. Chad Miller. Congratulations, Karen!!

Barden meets with visiting Faculty from Indonesia

Barden_VisitFacCharles Barden, Professor of Forestry, recently met with two faculty from Tanjungpura University in West Borneo, Indonesia. They are pictured here with Barden in the middle and Dr. Rugiah Panjaitan (left) and Dr. Emi Syahrial (right). They were part of a group of 30 faculty from Indonesia participating in a 5 week professional communications workshop here on campus. The visitors were particularly interested in Barden's riparian forestry work and his projects with Native Americans. They discussed several ideas for collaborative research.

Three Horticulture Students Win PGMS Scholarships


Caitlin Carlson received $3000, Alex Bach received $500, and Miah Howe received $500.

Each year the PGMS scholarship committee awards monetary scholarships to students in horticulture or related fields. The top recipient will also have the opportunity to attend the School of Grounds Management Annual Conference & GIE+EXPO in Louisville in the fall. PGMS will pay for the scholarship recipient's conference registration and a travel allowance. Read more.... (go to page 10 & 11)

Kansas State Agriculturist

AgricultristHorticulture impacts are noted in the latest issue of K-State's Agriculturist magazine. An article featuring the Urban Ag Study Tour to St. Louis is featured on p. 44-45, and lettuce produced in hydroponics courses and donated to Cats' Cupboard, the on-campus student food pantry, is mentioned in the article on p. 20-21. Also WOEM students have an article featuring the Shotgun Shooting Sports team on p. 34-35. Check it out! Read more...

K-State Researchers Prepare for First Year of Industrial Hemp Test Crops

HempNewsJCPairJason Griffin, professor in the horticulture and natural resources department and director of the John C. Pair Horticulture Center in Haysville, leads the way in building expertise on the crop, in Kansas.

Industrial hemp is closely controlled by federal and state regulations because it comes from the same cannabis species as marijuana. But instead of getting people high, it is grown for fiber, seed or oil – each of which leads to a variety of end products.  Read more...

Schneck Wins Dr. P. Allen Hammer Scholarship

SchneckDümmen Orange recently named Karen Schneck, an undergraduate student studying horticulture and entomology at Kansas State University (KSU), as its latest recipient of the Dr. P. Allen Hammer Scholarship. The $5,000 award is presented in recognition of exemplary academic achievement in the field of horticulture, and is intended to support the next generation of floriculture students towards the completion of their horticulture-related academic pursuits. Pictured: Chad Miller, Karen Schneck, and Kim Williams (l-r). Read more...

Hoppenstedt to Serve as Johnson County Extension Agent

HoppenstedtZachary Hoppenstedt will begin serving as the Johnson County Horticulture/Vegetable/Fruit Production Extension Agent, effective January 13, 2019. Johnson County's office is located in Olathe, Kansas. He earned his master's degree in Horticulture from Kansas State University and his bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Kansas. He will develop and deliver educational programs related to fruit and vegetable production in Johnson County.

Zachary has most recently been employed as a Program Associate for the Kansas State Horticulture Research and Extension Center in Olathe.

Shout Out: Tim McDonnell

This Shout Out is from our Horticulture and Natural Resources Extension State Leader Jason Griffin and is directed to Tim McDonnell of the Kansas Forest Service at the John C Pair Horticultural Center.

At 3 p.m. on December 31, a John C. Pair Horticultural Center neighbor and part time employee called Jason's mobile and told him his detached garage/shed was on fire. He had called 911 but knew Tim is a volunteer firefighter with Belle Plaine and hoped he might be able to help. Jason yelled to Tim, and he jumped in his truck and headed across the road. By the time Jason and the rest of the staff ran across the road to see if they could help, Tim had already extinguished the fire with the extinguisher he keeps in his truck. Because of Tim's quick actions the damage to the structure was almost unnoticeable.

Jason added, "Here is a Shout Out to all state employees who possess a wide array of skills and are ready to help our neighbors when needed. Here is a special Shout Out to our Sedgwick County first responders who showed up within minutes of the 911 call. Finally, here is a special Shout Out to Tim for being a man who always responds when asked. K-State Family make Kansas a better place to live!"