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Cal Poly Takes On Canada: Mosaicultures

Cal Poly Takes On Canada

Lauren Milliken, AEPS Student

Lauren Millikin, AEPS Student, Montreal Canada

Lauren Millikin, AEPS Student, Montreal Canada

A group of Cal Poly students and I went to Montreal to construct my senior project by participating in an international Mosaicultures competition. Mosaiculture is creating figures completely filled and covered with plant material. The competition was to create a landscape design that incorporated the theme of “Land of Hope.” Our team represented California in competition. Our goal was to design a scene that illustrated one of the defining characteristics of California: farming. California farms play a large role in the state’s economy, and we wanted to portray the connection between the farmer and land since agriculture plays a pivotal role in shaping our state’s economy. Our design revolved around an old farmer’s truck, and a father and son that represented farmers harvesting their crop. Stacked produce crates were also placed throughout the entire design to in order represent the symbol of California agriculture.

The group of Cal Poly students and a few faculty members all traveled to Montreal, Canada to construct the design at the Montreal Botanical Gardens.

The group of Cal Poly students and a few faculty members all traveled to Montreal, Canada to construct the design at the Montreal Botanical Gardens.

The Mosaiculture team

The Mosaiculture team

Team California/USA

Team California/USA

Team USA

Team USA

The group of Cal Poly students and a few faculty members all traveled to Montreal, Canada to construct the design at the Montreal Botanical Gardens. The garden is world-renowned and consists of many types of beautiful gardens with smaller ones within them.

Although constructing our actual project was hard work, the group still enjoyed the time spent together working towards a common goal. The two figures were welded for us by the engineers while groups of about two people worked together to line the figure with plastic netting and then fill it with peat moss. In order for the plants to grow, and still maintain its shape, the media had to be packed down as much as possible, which proved to be the most tedious process in the design. After the figures were filled, the plants were installed by cutting holes in the netting big enough for plugs. We used various plant materials for different parts of figures like the overalls, shirt, jeans, hat, skin, and boots. The plugs were allowed grow into the figure and give them character. The rest of the plot had the truck with Mosaicultures filled crates and the ground was turned into rows of crops. We chose plants that mirrored actual crops grown in state such as echeveria that represented artichokes and begonia as strawberries. The rows were all plotted in different direction to give the area texture and depth.

Site preparation

Site preparation

Building the pallettes and boxes

Building the pallettes and boxes

The two figures were welded for us by the engineers while groups of about two people worked together to line the figure with plastic netting and then fill it with peat moss.

The two figures were welded for us by the engineers while groups of about two people worked together to line the figure with plastic netting and then fill it with peat moss.

In order for the plants to grow, and still maintain its shape, the media had to be packed down as much as possible, which proved to be the most tedious process in the design.

In order for the plants to grow, and still maintain its shape, the media had to be packed down as much as possible, which proved to be the most tedious process in the design.

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In order for the plants to grow, and still maintain its shape, the media had to be packed down as much as possible, which proved to be the most tedious process in the design

In order for the plants to grow, and still maintain its shape, the media had to be packed down as much as possible, which proved to be the most tedious process in the design

After the figures were filled, the plants were installed by cutting holes in the netting big enough for plugs.

After the figures were filled, the plants were installed by cutting holes in the netting big enough for plugs.

We used various plant materials for different parts of figures like the overalls, shirt, jeans, hat, skin, and boots.

We used various plant materials for different parts of figures like the overalls, shirt, jeans, hat, skin, and boots.

The farmers

The farmers

The plugs were allowed grow into the figure and give them character.

The plugs were allowed grow into the figure and give them character.

All our hard work put into creating the Mosaicultures was well worth it: the plot looked beautiful, even better than what was created in the design process. I am happy to be part of this school trip to Montreal. Not only did I receive hands-on experience in building a Mosaicultures in one of the most beautiful, and diverse, cities in the world, I also learned the importance of positive team dynamics in group projects. Overall, the trip was a major success, and truly embodied the Cal Poly “learn by doing” philosophy.

Students at work

Students at work

Designing the "crops"

Designing the “crops”

Working on the green truck

Working on the green truck

The "green truck"

The “green truck”

the "green" truck

the “green” truck

the truck with the "crops"

the truck with the “crops”

Placing the truck in the plot

Placing the truck in the plot

Next door project...

Next door project…

planting the "crops"

planting the “crops”

Team USA

Team USA

Finished product

Finished product

Finished product

Finished product

 

Growing Rare Conifers

Growing Rare Conifers

Posted by: Mark Krist

My name is Mark Krist. I received a Bachelors of Science degree through the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences as an Urban Forester via the Natural Resources Management Department in 2007. I now serve as an Urban Forester through the College of Science & Math under the direction of Dr. Matt Ritter, Director of the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory. As the Urban Forester of the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory, I have had the pleasure to be involved in many important projects including the maintenance of this collection of rare conifers.

The attached pictures are of a collection of rare conifers currently being grown at the Leaning Pine Arboretum and slated to be planted in the future Math & Science Complex. The rare conifer collection is composed of 45 specimens representing 33 individual species. Recently the whole collection was transplanted to larger containers to promote continued growth. This was the second time the collection was “bumped.” The growing of the specimens on campus prior to the installation saves money and provides time to grow to a larger size.

This project is of particular interest because it represents a collaboration among the Horticulture and Crop Science Department (using the Horticulture Unit for space and resources), the College of Science & Math (the Cal Poly Plant Conservatory in the form of plant selection and maintenance) and the Cal Poly Grounds Department (who are the eventual landscape designers, and will install and maintain the plants). This collection is to be installed mid-2013 and that there are currently Landscape Architecture students formulating plans for class projects.

I would invite you to come visit the rare conifer collection at the Horticulture Unit, located in the Courtright shade house, to meet some new and fascinating specimens. All specimens are labeled and coincide with the following current container size listing.

Abies bracteata 15 gallon
Abies squamata 15 gallon
Agathis australis 15 gallon
Agathis corbassonii 5 gallon
Agathis robusta 20″ box
Araucaria bidwillii 20″ box
Araucaria E = 24 15 gallon
Araucaria unknown 15 gallon
Athrotaxis selaginoides 5 gallon
Austrocedrus chilensis (2) 15 gallon
Calocedrus rupestris 15 gallon
Cunninghamia lanceolata 20″ box
Cupressus gigantea (2) 5 gallon, 3 15 gallon
Dacrydium cupressinum (female) 15 gallon
Dacrycarpus dacrydioides (2) 15 gallon still waiting for boxes
Halocarpus bidwillii 5 gallon
Juniperis communis 15 gallon
Podocarpus gnidioides 15 gallon
Podocarpus lawrencii (2) 15 gallon
Podocarpus latifolius 20″ box
Podocarpus longifoliolatus 5 gallon
Podocarpus totara 15 gallon
Podocarpus urbanii 15 gallon
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa 15 gallon
Prumnopitys andina 5 gallon
Sciadopitys verticillata 15 gallon
Sequoiadendron gigantea (4) 15 gallon
Taxodium mucronatum (2) 15 gallon still waiting for boxes, (1) 15 gallon
Taxus selaginoides 5 gallon
Taxus wallichiana 15 gallon
Torreya californica 15 gallon
Torreya taxifolia 15 gallon
Wollemia nobilis 20″ box
Mark Krist

Urban Forester, Cal Poly Plant Conservatory

PlantConservatory.CalPoly.edu

MKrist@CalPoly.edu

 

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It’s the Little Things Around Campus

Posted By: Dani Ruais

As it is getting close to finals week here at Cal Poly, and as long as the entire student body is studying at Kennedy Library, why not take a walk around campus for a study break? You might be surprised at what you find! Just take a deep breath and look around youself. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, located in the valley of the Irish Hills, Madonna Mountain, the “P”, and Bishop’s Peak. We are minutes from the great outdoors: Leaning Pine Arboretum, Poly Canyon, Horse Canyon, not to mention the several hiking and biking trails on and off campus. Here are just a few of the great treasures that I look forward to spotting around campus on a regular basis. Being on this campus and in this beautiful town is just one of the perks of coming to Cal Poly SLO. Especially enrolling in the Horticulture and Crop Science Department, we are not only some of the creators of this beauty on campus, but we are also true stewards of this land and campus.

Sheep on the BRAE irrigation test field

Sheep on the BRAE irrigation test field

Sheep on the Bio Resource Agricultural Resource Test fields

Fletcher, one of the mousers at the Horticulture Unit, getting some much-needed TLC.

Say “Hi” to Fletcher when you are up at the Horticulture unit!

We treat our barn cats and mousers very well here! An extra special thank you to the Cal Poly Cat Program for taking care of our campus kitties!
Check out the Cal Poly Cat Program at: http://www.afd.calpoly.edu/facilities/cats/index.html

Hummingbird nest in the greenhouse corridor at the Horticulture Unit

Hummers nest at the Horticulture Unit

Baby swallows in the breezeway at the Horticulture Unit

How do they all fit in that tiny nest?!

Birdhouse at the Horticulture Dorm

The baby horses are out with their moms at the Horse Unit right across the way from the Horticulture Unit at the top of Via Carta on Cal Poly SLO’s campus.

Just enjoying the beautiful sun!

Take a walk up to the Horse Unit and pet a horse or two!

Horses!

Scrub jay at the Horse Unit

Thomas, the mouser at the Horse Unit

Thomas getting ready for a nap

View from the Horse Unit

Bishop’s Peak in the background; not a bad place to attend class 🙂

They don’t seem to mind the sprinklers.

Visit the Swine Unit!

Pirate calf

At the Dairy

Good luck studying for your finals! Hope this post reminds you to take it SLO!

 

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Back to Cali

Posted by: Mitchell

Hi All!

Sorry for the delay. It has been a rather hectic schedule since I left Iowa to finish my last quarters at Cal Poly!  As of this point, I am taking my last three required classes at Cal Poly, and then it is back to Colusa I go.  I felt that this blog was as good a time as any to reflect on my last five years in the HCS department.

I came to this university in 2007.  I didn’t know anybody, and realistically, I didn’t even really know myself.  Since that time I have taken more than 52 classes and met lifelong friends.  I have also had the chance to do things that I never thought possible such as travel both the world and the United States. I have been given the chance to not only be a student in a University, but be an individual at a school full of professors and staff who know me and what I need to succeed.

The main purpose of a college degree is to help prepare you for a career, but along with that, it’s to help you find out what your passion is.  For example, I am currently growing hydroponic lettuce for my senior project.  With this project we are hoping to start a breeding project that could help improve the way that we grow lettuce in California.  None of this would have been possible without the help of my advisor, my professors, and my classmates.  The project itself is an accumulation of everything I have learned at Cal Poly, and I really think it exemplifies everything that I love about this school.  Before this project, I had never grown anything using hydroponics, yet here I am, one quarter later growing whole lettuce crops.  Learn by Doing at its finest.
I believe that this blog has given people a good look at our everyday lives and what it might mean to be a student at this school.  If you love agriculture, learning, and growing as a student and as a person, come to Cal Poly, and become a member of our AEPS family.

 

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Get OUT! :)

Posted by: Kelly

Now is the time! Get out and do something new!

My time at Cal Poly is coming to an end, and I have realized how many things I have always said I will do and have never done. Recently I have been trying to go out and try new things. Here are a few things I suggest doing in the near future to make you a happier person

One: Read a new book. I have never been an avid reader, of anything, except maybe food blogs or magazines (which I tend to skim through). For my senior seminar class we are required to read a book and write a review on it. At first I saw it as a daunting task: why would I want to read a book for a class? It is my last quarter of school and I’m sure I can find a way to make it look like I have read the book. But after looking at the list I decided to read a book by Michael Pollan called “In Defense of Food.” To my surprise, it was one of the best books I have ever read! It gave me a new perspective on food and how others (mainly those not involved in ag) look at food and how it is grown. It has opened my eyes, and now I can understand why people think they way they think. This book has also encouraged me to start reading more books, which I am extremely excited about!

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Two: Go visit a different city for a weekend. Last weekend I went up to Davis to visit some friends (and because I had volleyball which is a wonderful excuse). I had never been to Davis to just hang out, and it was quite nice! We walked around campus, got to check out a bunch of greenhouses, the domes, the Arboretum and the Davis Co-op. I felt like I was taking my own personal field trip. We went out to yummy dinners and the nightlife there was really entertaining! Even though it may seem like going out of town is a hassle, or you might not have time to get everything done, do it! Just go explore. You won’t be sorry.

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Three: Go to Song Writers at Play. At Kruezburgs on Tuesdays, as well as a few other locations during the week, there is an event called Song Writers at Play. You can go to the coffee shop, grab a beer, some coffee or food and just sit and listen to people play their songs. It is one of the most relaxing things I did this week. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in school, or sports, and our daily lives that we forget to go out and do something fun for ourselves.

Four: Try a new sport in the Rec Center. Have you been to the new Rec Center? It is the Disneyland of all gyms. I nearly died when I walked in for the first time and thought I was going to get lost!! Even if you aren’t a gym rat and you don’t really like exercise, there are a ton of fun things to do in the gym. They have ping-pong, basketball, racquetball, squash and volleyball. The options are endless. Just go and try it out!

Five: (If you are a foodie like me…) Make a list of local restaurants to try. My roommate and I recently have come up with a list of restaurants in town that we would like to eat at someday. Sometimes when we are just sitting at home and have the urge to go get tasty food, we pull out the list and pick somewhere to go. Lots of places around San Luis use local produce and turn it into a divine dining experience.

Six: Throw a dinner party with some close friends. Our time in college is short and we want to see the friendships we make throughout the years last for a long time. Have some friends over for a dinner party. It doesn’t matter if you are a great chef or not, just having people all together, socializing over food makes for a great setting. This week I had my team over and we did a make your own pizza party. Go to a farmers market, pick up some veggies, some pizza dough from Trader Joe’s and call it a day! Easy-peezy party that people will love.

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Useless?! Try Vital! A response to Yahoo!’s article “College Majors That Are Useless”

Posted by: Brean

Studying horticulture opens up doors around the world -- Here I am at Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid, Spain in August of 2011. One of the most gorgeous public gardens I've ever seen!

As future leaders within the Horticulture and Crop Science Department, we know better than to believe what is written in the article College Majors That Are Useless by Terrence Loose on Yahoo! Education.

Everyday – sometimes multiple times per day – we are receiving emails from our department about internships and career opportunities within crop science, landscape, public horticulture, turfgrass and sports field management, plant protection science, and greenhouse and nursery plant production all over the state, the country, and the world. That’s right: everyday, employers within these fields are seeking us to work for them!

Not to mention, the types of positions available to us are not only production-based (which is what Loose claims), but rather, they encompass a broad range such as marketing and sales representatives, research scientists, quality assurance managers — just to name a few. People may also be surprised to find out that the average starting salary for a graduate in the agriculture industry is almost $49,000 (according to the AgCareers.com/ AgrowKnowledge Enrollment and Employment Outlook Report and the AgCareers.com Compensation Benchmark Review).

Let’s also talk about the issue of “uselessness” of our degrees. The whole basis of our education is to provide food, flora, and fiber for the world. We might be so bold in making the statement that our degrees are, on the contrary, useful. According to the latest data from AgCareers.com, 81% of jobs in the ag industry require education beyond high school and almost half require at least a bachelor’s degree.  According to the AgCareers.com/AgrowKnowledge Enrollment and Employment Outlook Report in 2008 there was a deficit of 9,317 graduates with agriculture degrees to fill open positions in the U.S.

We are the future of agricultural and environmental plant sciences, and have taken responsibility to provide food, flora, and fiber sustainably and efficiently in a booming world population. With an increasing demand for high-quality and nutritious foods; advances in agriculture, science and technology; a growing population and a need to produce more with less, there are, in fact, a wide variety of rewarding, well-paid career opportunities in agriculture!

Those of us who are Agricultural and Environmental Plant Science majors at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo know the importance of our degrees and viability of our future careers!