Visitors can 'tour' national parks at Horticulture Show Oct. 10-11

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Fall is here, and what better way to enjoy the season than by visiting the 102nd Horticulture Show Oct.10-11 at the Snider Agricultural Arena.

This annual show is planned and presented by students in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The free event will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The Snider Agricultural Arena is located diagonally across Park Avenue from Beaver Stadium on the University Park campus. Penn State's Homecoming football game will be held at noon on Saturday.

The theme for this year's show is national parks. Visitors will be able to imagine strolling through the Great Smoky Mountains, visiting Gettysburg National Military Park, and seeing some of the sites in our nation's capital.

For more than a century, the college's Horticulture Club has organized this show, which allows visitors the opportunity to explore various aspects of horticulture. The purpose of the show is to engage students in designing, constructing and operating an event that will attract and educate the public about plants and landscaping.

"A lot of work goes into making this a great show for people to come and visit with their families," said Greg Schival, a senior landscape contracting major from Spring City, who is one of the students involved in making sure the show is a success. "The creativity and cooperation that goes into this event should impress everyone with the dedication of the students in putting this show together."

Horticulture Club co-advisor Martin McGann, associate professor of landscape contracting in the Department of Plant Science, explained that, early on, the students contact landscape companies to request donations of plant materials. The plants then are transported to University Park where they are integrated into the show. 

"The plants are labeled and offered for sale, to be picked up when the show closes on Sunday. The funds collected from these sales are used to support other club activities during the year," McGann said. "For people wanting something smaller than a 15-foot maple tree or 5-gallon hydrangea, there are other items available for sale to the public, including cider, mums, pumpkins, apples and various vegetables."

This year's show was designed last academic year by seniors in the landscape contracting program.

"It was fun to work with the other students in developing the concept for the show and then presenting it to the Horticulture Club and getting them to buy into the idea," said Eric Middleton, one of four members of the team who prepared the master plan for this year's show. In addition to helping to design the show, he currently is busy with helping other club members put the event together.

The Horticulture Club is open to all majors. The club encourages members to participate in a variety of events besides the Horticulture Show. These include recreational, competitive and philanthropic activities.

"There are varied and exciting aspects of the professions we are preparing for in the Plant Science Department," said Josh Dunay, a senior majoring in landscape contracting. "I hope when the public tours the show and talks to the students there, they come away with the impression that the show is more than just plants. It involves design, construction, planning, communications and students working together to do something really impressive."

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Last Updated October 12, 2015