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Category Archives: Science

Disneyland Horticulture

Disneyland Horticulture

Hallie Schmidt, AEPS student

On April 14, 2013, twelve members of the Horticulture Club drove down to Anaheim, CA to Disneyland theme park and resort. We got to spend our entire first day enjoying the park- going on rides like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean and enjoying classic Disneyland treats like churros and giant pickles. In the evening we went to the home of one of our members, Cody, whose parents had prepared for us an incredible dinner of authentic carne asada and chicken tacos. We were so grateful for their hospitality – it was a long day of driving and running around the park!

It was a long day of running around the park!

It was a long day of running around the park!

"We got to spend our entire first day enjoying the park- going on rides like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean"

“We got to spend our entire first day enjoying the park- going on rides like Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean”

The next morning we woke up at 5am to get ready for our 6am tour with the Disneyland horticulture staff. Their regular working hours are 2am-10am so that visitors never see the anybody working in the park. After going through a rigorous security check, we met with Dave Garza, the manager of Disneyland Horticulture operations, and a few members of his staff on the back lot. They call this back lot “back stage” where all the prep goes on: a small nursery, growing topiaries, etc. “On stage,” or the park itself, workers were in giant bucket lifts trimming trees or hedging shrubs and topiaries. We walked through almost the entire park in less than an hour (no crowds at this time!) and our tour guides told us all about what it takes to keep their colorful annual beds looking so spectacular, how they grow the grass on Splash Mountain, and how they keep the Jungle Cruise looking and feeling like a real jungle, the IPM program among many other interesting horticulture secrets.

Beautiful Roses at Disneyland

Beautiful Roses at Disneyland

The next morning we woke up at 5am to get ready for our 6am tour with the Disneyland horticulture staff.

The next morning we woke up at 5am to get ready for our 6am tour with the Disneyland horticulture staff.

our tour guides told us all about what it takes to keep their colorful annual beds looking so spectacular, how they grow the grass on Splash Mountain

“Our tour guides told us all about what it takes to keep their colorful annual beds looking so spectacular, how they grow the grass on Splash Mountain.”

They call this back lot "back stage" where all the prep goes on: a small nursery, growing topiaries, etc.

“They call this back lot “back stage” where all the prep goes on: a small nursery, growing topiaries, etc.”

Overall, we accomplished a lot in a short time which was exhausting, but we learned a lot and had a lot of fun. This summer one of our club members will be interning with Disneyland in the horticulture department! Who knows, one of the horticulture managers graduated from Cal Poly in 2010…maybe we’ll be seeing more Cal Poly HCS grads working there in the near future.

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Hands on Experience in England

Hands on Experience in England

Posted by: Analisia Basurto, AEPS student

Little did I understand what was in store for me when I agreed to do an internship with the RHS in England this summer. The RHS stands for the Royal Horticultural Society of England, which organizes most of the horticulture world of the UK. Among their gardens is Wisley Gardens, their largest garden expanding out about 240 acres. I had the privilege of working at Wisley for a 6-week internship, moving to a different department each week. Each department showcased different plant types/plant regions as well as different horticulture styles. While in each department, I was able to engage in lectures specific to the issues experienced in that department, whether irrigation management, fertilizer treatment methods, plant ID, or teamwork organization.


I found the immersion into Wisley Gardens incredibly valuable in my academic studies. From the first day, I was applying principles of plant ID, maintenance techniques, and human relation skills to the job site. This forced me to pull out elements from classes at Cal Poly, bringing me practical hands-on application to theories I’ve learned over the last two years. Everything from Landscape Maintenance to Plant Pathology classes came into play through the internship, making me value even the dullest moments in lectures.

Aside from being immersed in horticulture, this internship gave me the opportunity of touring the UK during the Olympics. Having a chance to walk the streets and meet the people of London, Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Norwich, Bath, and Edinburgh over the weekends made every week an adventure. I felt like I got the best of a vacation and job experience all in one package! If you think that going international for your internship might be up your alley, I would highly recommend you go for it! I learned so much about plants, people, and life that made me ever so grateful to have been given this experience.

 

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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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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!