• Volume 13  Number 2  Spring 2004

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Turf group earns Team Award

The Purdue Turf Science Team, with members from three different academic departments, has earned the 2004 Purdue Agriculture Team Award for its education, Extension and research projects.

Turf team members from the Department of Agronomy are Zac Reicher, PhD '93, associate professor and Extension turfgrass specialist; Ron Turco, professor of soil microbiology and agronomy and director of the Environmental Sciences and Engineering Institute; and Cale Bigelow, assistant professor of turfgrass science. Representing the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology are Richard Latin, professor of plant pathology, and Fred Whitford, director of Purdue Pesticide Programs. And from the Department of Entomology is Tim Gibb, insect diagnostician and turf specialist.

The university's turf science program serves many groups, including homeowners, golf course superintendents, sports turf managers, professional lawn managers, sod growers, cemetery managers and Extension educators. The team publishes an online newsletter called Turf Tips with new information for do-it-yourselfers and professionals. The team has produced more than 45 Extension publications, with titles ranging from Building a Backyard Putting Green to Control of Crabgrass in Homelawns.

The team also maintains a unique partnership with the turf industry in Indiana through the Midwest Regional Turf Foundation to put on four annual events to educate and train participants on all facets of turf management. More than 2,300 people a year attend events sponsored by the Purdue's turf program.

“The team has greatly impacted Indiana's turf industry,” says Vic Lechtenberg, dean of agriculture. “Through research, education and outreach efforts, our turf team has helped solve problems and improve the environment.”

The Indiana turf industry calculates that it provides more than 10,000 jobs and contributes well over $1 billion annually to the state economy.

Purdue's undergraduate turf program has had an average annual enrollment of 80 to 90 students since 1990, and seven graduate students are pursuing advanced degrees with research projects in turfgrass science.

The Purdue Agriculture Team Award was created in 1995 to honor faculty and staff achievements by interdisciplinary teams. The award is comprised of individual plaques for each team member, a team plaque displayed in the Agricultural Administration Building and a $10,000 cash prize to be used for program support.

Contact the Turf Science Team at www.agry.purdue.edu/turf/personel.htm