Student Stories: Turfgrass science major interns with Philadelphia Eagles

Many people dream of setting foot on the same field as the Philadelphia Eagles, but only for a few is the lure of greatness marked by painted numbers, lines, borders, hash marks and logos. Senior Eddie Harbaugh is a turfgrass science major with such ambitions -- one who realized his goals as a grounds crew intern at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

From May 2013 to January 2014, the Horsham, native helped maintain the three full-sized fields that host Eagles, Temple Owls and Army-Navy games. This full-season internship afforded him the opportunity to learn about caring for both cold- and warm-season grasses.

"It was interesting to see the different grasses after learning about them in my classes -- retaining knowledge from the classroom and taking in as much as I could from my professors really helped me on the job," Harbaugh said.

turfgrass major Eagles intern

In addition to mowing, watering, checking the turf's moisture content, top-dressing and aerating, he helped prepare the stadium for games. That included painting logos and patching up the turf from the previous week's game.

Image: Penn State

Harbaugh's position with the grounds crew followed a three-month internship with the Eagles during the summer of 2012. In addition to the mowing, watering, checking of the turf's moisture content, top-dressing and aerating to which he already had grown accustomed, this time around he was able to prepare the stadium for games. That included painting logos and patching up the turf from the previous week's game.

He also was kept busy working with chemicals and liquid fertilizers. "It was challenging, but one of my biggest accomplishments was getting on the sprayer," Harbaugh said. "I had gotten my certification in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, and it was good practice spraying fertilizers and pesticides the correct way."

In a profession that seems to be dominated by Penn State alumni -- including the entire Eagles grounds crew, members of the New York Mets grounds crew and a grounds assistant for the New York Jets -- it's not surprising that Harbaugh was accepted for an internship with the Jets this past summer.

Learn about the turfgrass science major.

 

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Last Updated November 12, 2014