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BYU will host 2006 PLANET Professional Landcare Network Student Career Days March 22-26

Competition will feature tree climbing, heavy equipment maneuvering

Brigham Young University will host the 2006 PLANET Professional Landcare Network Student Career Days Wednesday through Sunday, March 22-26, a four-day competitive event for students enrolled in landscape horticulture programs at colleges and universities across the country.

“This year will be the 30th annual Career Days, which produces several national champions and is frequently called ‘the Olympics of landscaping,’” said Phil S. Allen, a BYU landscape management professor who, along with fellow faculty member Greg V. Jolley and a team from BYU Grounds, has organized the BYU event.

Expected attendance will include approximately 1,500 students, faculty and landscape professionals. Further information is available at www.studentcareerdays.org.

Activities will begin with a special kick-off event Wednesday at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City, where participants will complete a community service project and then enjoy the park’s attractions, including bobsled rides down the original Olympic track.

On Thursday, business specialist and best-selling author Stephen R. Covey will present a workshop for conference attendees, who will then tour the BYU campus, considered one of the most beautiful college campuses in the nation. The tour will also include a visit to the gardens of Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The evening will feature an opportunity for students to reach new heights in air balloon rides donated by the Utah County Hot Air Balloon Association.

Later in the week, students will compete in 23 events directly related to the skills required for a career in the “green industry." Competitions will find students building patios and benches, identifying horticulture specimens, completing designs and job estimates, assembling irrigation equipment, solving business problems, maneuvering landscape equipment and even climbing trees at locations on and around the BYU campus.

The outdoor events, which will be held largely at Kiwanis Park east of campus on Saturday, are open to the public.

“While students from more than 60 colleges and universities compete at Career Days, Intermountain teams have dominated in the recent past,” said Allen. “BYU was awarded the overall championship in 2003, BYU-Idaho in 2004 and Colorado State University in 2005.”

In addition to competing in education and skills events, students will also compete for employment and scholarships. Friday is devoted to a career fair, where students can interview with more than 100 top landscaping companies to discuss internship and employment opportunities.

Nearly $40,000 in scholarships will be awarded at the closing ceremonies in the historic Provo Tabernacle on Sunday.

“We’re hoping to help overcome some of the stereotypes people may have of the landscape contracting profession,” said Allen. “We enjoy 100 percent placement of our graduates, most of whom enjoy excellent salaries. They emerge from our program as highly skilled professionals.”

PLANET, the Professional Landcare Network, is an international association serving more than 4,000 exterior landscape management contractors, lawn care professionals, interiorscapers and installation/design/build professionals. PLANET provides its members with a business foundation to help them evaluate, plan, and better manage their companies.

Member firms have direct access to marketing tools, industry-specific business publications, updates on legislative issues and networking opportunities that can assist them in becoming more profitable.

The organization emerged on Jan. 1, 2005, when the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and the Professional Lawn Care Association of America joined forces to become a more encompassing network of green industry professionals.

For more information on PLANET and major industry sponsors, visit www.landcarenetwork.org. For additional information on the 30th annual Student Career Days at BYU, contact Phil Allen at (801) 422-2421.

Writer: Cecelia Fielding

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