The Iowa Turfgrass Institute, in partnership with the Iowa GCSA, ISTMA, and Iowa State University, hosted approximately 75 FFA students at Jack Trice Stadium on Sunday, April 22. This first-time event, aimed at educating FFA students about the turfgrass industry and the careers it provides, was spearheaded as the ITI begins to work with its allied associations and state colleges and universities to increase student outreach efforts.
The evening began with a dinner catered by Hickory Park, as the students gathered directly behind the north endzone, where Jack Trice Stadium's maintenance department is located. Once everyone had finished eating, the students listened to turfgrass managers representing golf courses, sports fields, and parks and recreation talk about their careers, backgrounds, and how they got into the turfgrass industry. The students also got the opportunity to meet turfgrass instructors from Iowa State University, Indian Hills Community College, Kirkwood Community College, and Hawkeye Community College.
Following the personal accounts from industry representatives, the students were given a tour of the ISU football game and practice facilities. While on the Jack Trice Stadium field, Tim VanLoo, CSFM, and Nate Tegtmeier (Des Moines Golf & Country Club) spoke about the similarities and differences of managing turfgrass at golf and athletic field facilities. VanLoo also pulled a soil profile to show the students the root zone and explained his topdressing strategy.
The ITI is extremely thankful for the efforts of many individuals in planning this event, and preparations are already underway for hosting the event again in 2019.