Members of Auburn University’s Horticulture Club had strong showings in the collegiate-level plant identification and horticultural commodity judging competition held during the American Society for Horticultural Science’s annual conference in New Orleans earlier this month.
Contestants were scored individually and as a team based on their ability both to properly identify woody ornamentals and greenhouse floral and foliage plants and to judge the quality of vegetable crops and fruit and nut crops.
In the individual competition, Augusta Thurmond, a junior in horticulture at Auburn, won first place in both the woody ornamentals plant ID and vegetable judging categories and finished with the second highest score overall. Auston Holland, a junior horticulture major, placed second behind Thurmond in the woody ornamentals contest, and environmental science sophomore Caitlin Sweeney claimed second place in the judging of fruits and nuts.
At the team level, Auburn won first place in the woody ornamentals competition, third in greenhouse foliage and floral crops, third in the horticulture general knowledge exam portion of the competition and second overall, finishing behind Texas A&M and ahead of Houston Community College. Other members of Auburn’s team included Lianne Williams, a junior in horticulture, and Joshua Stanley, a chemical engineering senior and member of the club.
Forty-five students and seven teams representing nine universities participated in the competition. Jay Spiers, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Horticulture Club advisor, was team coach.