Olds College Campus News Summer 2016
by Jason Pick
The spring came early in Alberta this year, and students were chomping to get out of class and back to work. We finished our last block of the in-class term at Olds College on April 29th, and with only 2 weeks to take a breath, students began their summer work programs.
However new this year, just prior to getting away for their internships, we invited superintendents and mentors to perform an on-campus internship activity to prepare for their summer activities. Both students and superintendents practiced upcoming case studies, to prepare them both for the goals to be explored this summer. We’re all very thrilled to enter the final stretch of our diploma students in the newly revised turfgrass diploma.
We’d like to take another opportunity to thank Marie Thorne and Syngenta who hosted our 2016 turf bowl participants in San Diego this February. I was so impressed how hard the team prepared for the competition although I admit was a little nervous what might happen once we stood at the entrance of the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. Final words were "The competition is tomorrow at 8:00am - BE GOOD!!" Luckily, they were.
Using our Moodle online learning platform, we had created a training program for the team, who each contributed and studied it for just over a year. We delegated, and met monthly using google hangouts to stay on task. We made great connections and relationships with students from University of Guelph who had competed previously, very open to sharing their experience. Tremendous camaraderie, early on everyone learned it wasn't about winning but the thrill of competition.
We placed 29th out of 64 teams in our first try, which all thought was very respectable. Placing in the upper half of the field among 230 other competitors, was encouraging as we look ahead to improve our standing. Our greatest challenge was to familiarize ourselves with american products, and warm season turfs, insects, weeds, etc., many which we simply don't have access to. We began importing warm season species to the Prairie Turfgrass Research greenhouse about a year ago, and over time will be increasing our warm season resources. The good news, for Orlando we have a very clear idea where we need to improve.
Back on campus, our Olds College Turf club has won the college club of the year for the 4th year in a row, recruiting more than 60 turf students into its social and networking organization. Learning how to run a club, work with a board of directors while at college, has proven a wonderful and educational pastime for all who have volunteered. We employ an executive, and board of directors who have clear objectives to facilitate on behalf of their membership.
This February in Whistler, we also brought graduating degree student Ryan O’Halloran to speak as our student representative. Ryan impressed the delegates with the very current topic of water challenges at Morningstar Golf Club. Thanks to both Ryan and superintendent Jay Leach for sharing their solution which continues to risk course conditions right across Western Canada.
Lastly, we’d like to thank the WCTA for awarding us two $500 scholarship winners this year - Braeden Rogers, and Stacy Reichert of our BASc. golf course management program!
For more information about the turfgrasss certificate, diploma, or degree programs at Olds College, please visit http://oldscollege.ca/programs/horticulture/turfgrass/