The following blog is a guest post by Jason Davis,
assistant dean of the University of Mount Olive School of Agriculture & Biological Sciences. The article is part of a series of blogs provided by UMO students. Davis recognizes UMO students involved in agriculture in the blog below.
The Green & Growin’ conference was held in Greensboro on Jan. 10-14, 2022. This annual event kicked off the new year as the Southeast’s biggest gathering for green industry professionals. Eight educational tracks provided over 50 sessions and 100 Continuing Education Units-CEU credits for certification renewals and continuing education. The marketplace trade show hosted over 375 vendors, on-floor demonstrations, and networking opportunities. Participants at the conference learned from industry leaders and specialists about the latest technology and trends. Keynote speakers such as Dr. Charles Hall and Bryce Lane shared their insight on the post-Covid green industry and leadership in times of uncertainty.
Nine students from the University of Mount Olive who have completed the AGE 321 Plant Identification and Management course participated in the North Carolina Certified Plant Professional (CPP) Exam. The CPP exam is a valued credential used to recognize proficiency in the green industry’s workforce in North Carolina. The certification is a means to upgrade the status of industry professionals and allow the public to identify qualified professionals. The exam consisted of a 100-question multiple choice test on various horticultural practices and concepts, in addition to a 125 plant identification test selected from a potential 298 plants or pests found in landscapes in North Carolina. The students had spent the all semester learning all 300 plants on the list and horticultural concepts in the AGE 321 course. The students will learn their scores in the coming weeks.
Seven students from the University of Mount Olive worked with the North Carolina Nursery and Landscape-NCNLA as volunteers for the week. The volunteers assisted attendees at the conference with registration, check-in at educational sessions, introducing speakers, and checking in vendors to the Marketplace trade show. Between their duties, the UMO volunteers participated in educational sessions and visited the marketplace to learn about the latest advancements in the green industry. Students from other universities and community colleges attended parts of the conference, however the University of Mount Olive was the only institution to have students participate and volunteer throughout the five-day event.
Where the conference comes full circle is through the relationships and networks built during this busy week. The UMO students showcased their work ethic and communication skills while speaking and interacting with guests at the conference. As a result of this intersection of relationships, hard work, and their demonstration of knowledge, two students left with job commitments upon graduation from UMO this spring.