UW-River Falls Horticulture Society Honored by ASHS

August 19, 2013 --The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Horticulture Society was named the 2013 Outstanding Horticulture Organization – Small Club Category at the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) convention in Palm Desert, Calif., in July. Award winners are selected by the ASHS Collegiate Activities Committee based on the diversity, quality and number of club activities. 

Officers for the UWRF student organization are:  Maurisha Meyer, of Elkhart Lake, is president; Mitchell Haase, of Mukwonago, is vice-president; Emily Klein, of Sheboygan, is secretary; and Nikolaus Wagner, of Excelsior, Minn., is treasurer. 

Meyer noted what a great honor it was for the club to receive the award. "I am grateful to have the privilege to lead such a great organization," she said. 

The organization is best known on campus for plant sales at Christmas and Valentine's Day where the students showcase their knowledge of plants and practice their floral arranging skills. The club also shares talents by volunteering. Club members maintain and care for the plants in the UWRF University Center, recently worked with Journey House Campus Ministry to plan and renovate their landscape, and helped redo the landscaping at the Kao International House.  

The UWRF club will host the Mid-American Collegiate Horticulture Society (MACHS) competition and conference in October. MACHS brings together students from the universities with horticulture programs in the 12-state mid-America region. 

UWRF student Joel Sehloff, a member of the UWRF Horticulture Society and representative for MACHS, accepted the award on behalf of the club and presented his research at the convention. Sehloff, of Malone, presented a poster, "Secondary Shoot Proliferation in Hosta 'Honeybells' and the Isolation of Plantlets Free of Hosta Virus X (HVX)." His work represents hope for a practical solution to clean up infected hosta cultivars without resorting to elaborate tissue culture methods. Hostas are the second best selling herbaceous perennial in the United States. HVX has led to significant financial losses for the industry and the loss of valuable cultivars in hosta collections.

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