Who is the HortPack? | Horticultural sciences

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The HortPack is one of the top ten national horticulture and landscaping teams at NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. During spring break, NC State and the HortPack will host the 2022 National Collegiate Landscaping Competition (NCLC), with events spanning the entire campus. Each March, NCLC’s annual events rotate between partner colleges and universities to host over 60 two- and four-year colleges, over 700 students, top industry professionals, and leading manufacturers and suppliers. The showcase features 31 real-world competition events, workshops, networking, and the largest career fair in the industry.

The HortPack is made up of student applicants from the North Carolina State Agricultural Institute, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, and Department of Horticultural Sciences.

How does the HortPack team train?

Participating in 31 events this year, it is difficult for the HortPack team to train collectively. Coaches ensure each student has the resources to succeed, but students are motivated and committed to training and developing their technical skills in:

  • Arboriculture and tree climbing techniques
  • Commercial management and commercial presentation
  • heavy equipment operation
  • Irrigation design and troubleshooting
  • Landscape and hardscape design
  • Identification of plants and plant diseases
  • Security

Support from national manufacturer sponsors like Stihl, Husqvarna, John Deere, Caterpillar and Kubota is essential to hosting this great event. Essential support also comes from sponsors in the form of training. The day before the competition is full of student-sponsored hands-on workshops that provide realistic skills that not only enhance rivalry, but also translate into better professional practice. Local sponsors, like Bland Landscaping, also allow students to visit their businesses to train in specialist areas ahead of the competition.

How do you coach this diverse team?

Through their courses and academic events, the team relies on its academic advisors: Lis Meyer, Lee Ivy and Emily Erickson. The coaches focused on creating a “student driven and motivated team”.

Meyer, senior lecturer and educational consultant in the Department of Horticultural Sciences, says, “We think it’s important for them [the HortPack students] make the competition their own and decide what their goals are for the competition and what they need to do to achieve those goals.

Meyer, an alumnus of the Department of Horticultural Sciences, returned to the department in 2010 and in 2012 began coaching with Ivy, who is the director of the NC State Agricultural Institute.

Ivy has a long personal history with the college landscaping competition, as he competed as a student while attending the University of Tennessee. After earning her master’s degree from NC State, Ivy coached the Sandhills Community College team for several years before returning to the Wolfpack.

Erickson is a lecturer and academic advisor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. She joined the HortPack in 2018 when the competition was hosted by nearby Alamance Community College.

NC State will host the first return of in-person NCLC events since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Would you like more information about the HortPack?

If you are a student interested in arboriculture, landscaping and architecture, or plant production and identification, be sure to check out the undergraduate programs for two- and four-year students.

Do you want to support the HortPack? To find out how to support our top national college landscape team, contact the advisors.

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