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Experts share their knowledge at NCLC workshops
Jill Odom | March 15, 2017
Students Studying Irrigation

Students study the different type of sprinkler heads and the optimal psi needed.
Photo: Jill Odom

Students from across the country began spreading out over Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, for the 41st National Collegiate Landscape Competition today.

The morning started out chilly until the sun climbed over the mountains, but this didn’t dampen the students’ spirits in the slightest as they gathered to hear the arboriculture wisdom from Rip Tompkins, co-owner of ArborMaster Inc.

The Wednesday workshops serve as a chance for the students to learn what to expect at the competition on Friday.

For example, the arboriculture techniques competition will consist of a team of two working with throw lines and climbing stations, so Tompkins spent the morning explaining different techniques.

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Tompkins shows one of the older tree climbing techniques that can be used with a rope alone.
Photo: Jill Odom

“Times are changing, both the equipment and the techniques,” he said. “I’m all for innovation but in the long run you need to focus on safety.”

While some of the students are an old hand at tree climbing, others have never touched the equipment associated with arboriculture, so Tompkins focused on the basics and stressed the importance of safety.

“There’s no tree worth anyone’s life,” he said. “There are inherent risks when working with trees so just take it low and slow when you’re starting out.”

Other workshops students could attend included skid steer operation, small engine repair, truck and trailer, hardscape installation and 3D landscape design.

Ewing Irrigation and Hunter Industries led irrigation workshops focusing on design and hands-on problem solving.

John Hemphill with Hunter Industries showed students how to read an irrigation plan and how to build a drip zone. All of the irrigation installations this year will focus on drip irrigation.

“It’s the way of the future,” Hemphill said.

Meanwhile on the Ewing side, experts challenged the students to think critically about water pressure and how to solve various issues with spray heads and psi.

Some students are accustomed to NCLC while others are diving in feet first.

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John Hemphill shows how to flush a drip zone of debris.
Photo: Jill Odom

“This is my first,” said Ethan Rodger, a landscape design major from Knox County Career Center in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. “I’m competing in arboriculture, hardscapes, irrigation design, woodworking and truck and trailer.”

For Rodger, landscaping is still a backup career for him if criminal justice doesn’t work out, but others already have jobs lined up after they graduate.

Students like Mary Hedenberg from Kansas State are looking forward to the Career Fair tomorrow to find summer internships. She is currently majoring in greenhouse management and hopes to eventually start her own nursery that focuses on offering edible plants for landscapes.

Tomorrow night students will have the opportunity to attend the Career Development Series hosted by Ewing and Hunter. Guest speaker Ahmed Hassan will share his thoughts on the changing landscaping and sustainability.

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