Congratulations to the 2013 MSU PLANET

Student Career Days Team

for Placing 3rd in the Nation!



MSU Horticulture Club Places Third in North America at PLANET Green Industry Competition

Congratulations to the members of Horticulture Club that represented MSU at PLANET (Professional Landcare Network) Student Career Days hosted by Auburn University in Alabama last week. The four-day event consisted of educational workshops, a career fair, and 28 competitive events which have been termed the Landscape Olympics. Team members competed against 854 students representing 63 colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada. MSU once again made a strong showing finishing in third place behind Brigham Young University – Idaho and BYU - Provo. Team members included Nick Calderone, Elise Carolan, Emily Consigli, Jeff Elshoff, David Erdman, Mike Kaneris, Jamey Martinez, Kate McDonald, Chris McKellar, Katie Nickolaus, Kyle Redilla, Zachary Robinson, Drew Somsel, Lauren Tuski, Zach VanDyke, Megan Weidman, Arianna Wilcox, Robert Zannini, and team coaches Brad Rowe, Marcus Duck, Tom Fernandez, and Bridget Behe.

The team was composed of students from Horticulture, Entomology, Environmental Biology/Zoology, Statistics, and the Institute of Agricultural Technology Nursery and Landscape Program.


Top 10 performances in individual events included:

Jeff Elshoff, Irrigation Design (1st)
Team of Jeff Elshoff and David Erdman, Irrigation Troubleshooting (1st)
Team of Jeff Elshoff and David Erdman, Irrigation Assembly (tied for 1st)
Team of Jeff Elshoff and Jamey Martinez, Landscape Maintenance Operations (1st)
Jamey Martinez, Skidsteer Operation (1st)
Katie Nickolaus, Maintenance Cost Estimating (tied for first with a perfect score of 100)
Chris McKellar, Annual and Perennial ID (2nd)
Robert Zannini, Business Management (tied for 2nd)
Team of Kyle Redilla and Zach VanDyke, Wood Construction (3rd)
Lauren Tuski, Leadership Skills (4th)
Elise Carolan, Turf and Weed ID (4th)
Kyle Redilla, Plant Problem Diagnosis (4th)
Team of Kate McDonald and Lauren Tuski, Personnel Management (5th)
Jamey Martinez, Maintenance Cost Estimating (8th)
Zachary Robinson, Interior Landscape Design (8th)
Chris McKellar, Woody Plant ID (9th)
Zachary Robinson, Exterior Landscape Design (10th)

Top scorers for MSU were Jeff Elshoff (443), Jamey Martinez (428), David Erdman (275), Lauren Tuski (252), and Zach VanDyke (236). Among the 854 students competing, Jeff and Jamey placed third and fifth, respectively, for the most total points scored by an individual. Special congratulations go to Nick Calderone, Jeff Elshoff, Katie Nickolaus, and Lauren Tuski who were awarded scholarships worth $1000 from the PLANET Education Foundation. For winning the irrigation design competition, Jeff Elshoff was awarded an all expenses paid trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, in April to attend the American Society of Irrigation Consultants National Conference. In addition, for winning the other two irrigation events, Jeff and David Erdman won trips next fall to Austin, Texas, for the Irrigation Association’s Irrigation Show and Education Conference and to Las Vegas, Nevada, for the EPA WaterSense Partner Program.



While on the trip the team also visited the Atlanta Botanic Garden and Calloway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Team members worked diligently all year raising money to finance the trip through Horticulture Club activities such as their Spring Show. They also acknowledge the following sponsors for their support:

Ewing Irrigation Products, Phoenix, AZ

Bartlett Tree Experts, Grand Rapids, MI

Davey Tree, Kent, OH
Michigan Green Industry Association, Bingham Farms, MI
Professional Grounds Services, Southfield, MI
Smith Tree & Landscape Services, Inc., Lansing, MI
Unilock, Brighton, MI

David J. Frank Landscape Contracting, Germantown, WI
Old House Gardens, Ann Arbor, MI
R&D Landscape, Eaton Rapids, MI


A Brief History

Thirty six years ago a group of Michigan State University Horticulture students were out touring gardens and nurseries in the south when they stopped by the campus of Mississippi State University. What started out as a friendly picnic between two top Horticulture programs soon lead to a few disagreements on whose students really were the best in the industry. From this encounter the first student competition held by ALCA (Associated Landscape Contractors of America) was born. Held in 1977, 18 industry-leading companies sponsored this new event in which only 4 schools competed. Since then, this student competition has grown exponentially evolving into a new professional organization under the name of PLANET and incorporating top Horticulture programs from all over the United States, Canada and England.


NOTE: Please see the drop down menu under PLANET SCD for helpful links.



  • Department of Horticulture
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