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Video+Story: NMSU Floral Students Design their Way into the Future

You never know when you’re going to need a centerpiece, houseplant, succulent or specialty floral arrangement. When you do, you may not need to look any further than the New Mexico State University Floriculture Program.

Students in the floriculture program and on the intercollegiate floral team are constantly working on floral projects as part of their learning process and to enhance their creativity. The students prepare projects for competitions, events, silent auctions and weekly sales.

Part of the NMSU Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, the floriculture program falls under the horticulture degree program. Sabine Green, NMSU Floriculture Program Coordinator, said there are many advantages for the students in the program.

New Mexico State University Floriculture Program students Hanah Rheay (left) and Donna Farmer prepare roses for a flower arrangement. (NMSU photo by Kristie Garcia) JAN17
New Mexico State University Floriculture Program students Hanah Rheay (left) and Donna Farmer prepare roses for a flower arrangement. (NMSU photo by Kristie Garcia) JAN17

“Students benefit from being in the floriculture program in that they get a different faction of plant science as part of their degree,” Green said. “And when they go into the NMSU Floral Team and they compete, they’re eligible for things such as scholarships to design schools, scholarships to go to graduate school, and there’s a huge amount of networking that happens when we go to competitions. Many of the students already have contacts for potential jobs once they graduate.”

Green said any student at NMSU may become a member of the floral team.

“It’s really open to anyone who’s part of the NMSU community,” Green said. “But we do encourage that they actually take Horticulture 240 and 241.”

Horticulture 240 is the floral quality evaluation and design course, and Horticulture 241 is the floral field practicum.

Belle Morrow, both a theater arts and hotel, restaurant and tourism management major, said the hands-on experience in the floriculture program will help in her future career.

“It gives you a creative edge over students that may only learn out of a textbook and not get any hands-on learning,” Morrow said. “By being on the floral team and in the floral classes, you learn how to take instruction while providing your own influence and your own creativity. I think that will help me in my career in hospitality, either as a floral designer or as an event planner.”

New Mexico State University Floriculture Program student Belle Morrow (left) and program coordinator and certified floral designer Sabine Green sort through various flowers. (NMSU photo by Kristie Garcia) JAN17
New Mexico State University Floriculture Program student Belle Morrow (left) and program coordinator and certified floral designer Sabine Green sort through various flowers. (NMSU photo by Kristie Garcia) JAN17

Donna Farmer is majoring in individualized studies with an emphasis on horticulture. She said she’ll be more prepared for a career after being in the program and on the team.

“I have a dream to have a 10-acre commercial flower farm with a bed and breakfast in the middle,” Farmer said. “Being part of this program

and part of the team has taught me all the tools I feel I will need to be a successful grower and provider of floral products.”

Farmer said the program and team have provided her with more than just hands-on experience.

“This experience has also taught me fellowship, survival skills, friendship and mentorship,” she said.

Due to Green receiving full induction into the American Institute of Floral Designers as a Certified Floral Designer, the intercollegiate floral team is now able to compete nationally in the AIFD collegiate competition. Only collegiate teams with a certified coach may participate in the national competition.

New Mexico State University Intercollegiate Floral Team members use various flowers for arrangements they sell throughout the year. (NMSU photo by Kristie Garcia) JAN17
New Mexico State University Intercollegiate Floral Team members use various flowers for arrangements they sell throughout the year. (NMSU photo by Kristie Garcia) JAN17

Chemical engineering and horticulture major Hanah Rheay enjoys the opportunity to create and design throughout the year.

“What I enjoy most about being part of the NMSU Intercollegiate Floral Team is being able to create so many different products and provide so many different designs for events and the NMSU community,” Rheay said.

Floral team members and students in the horticulture floral design course have flower arrangements available for purchase on campus weekly during the academic year. The flower sale is held in the lobby of Gerald Thomas Hall from 9 to 11:30 a.m. each Wednesday of the semester.

Customers may bring their own vase and purchase by the stem, or they may choose from a variety of pre-made arrangements. The cost ranges from $5 to $40, depending on each customer’s needs.

Proceeds benefit the floral team and help with competition travel expenses and flowers used for mock contests and floral design practice.

For more information about the floral team or program, contact Green at 575-646-3662 or swhitley@nmsu.edu. You may also stay up to date by visiting the floral team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NmsuFloralTeam.

Author:  Kristie Garcia – NMSU

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