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Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences

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PSE Students, Faculty, and Staff Enjoy Welcome Back Picnic

At lunch time on Friday, September 14, students, faculty, and staff associated with the Plant, Soils, and Environmental Sciences Department gathered  between the front of Deering Hall and the historic greenhouses to enjoy our annual Welcome Back Picnic.

There were tons of goodies to enjoy at this year’s picnic: Grillmasters Brad Libby and Joel Whitney (ENH) made sure that all the handmade burgers and sausages were grilled to perfection.  Assistant Professor of Weed Ecology, Eric Gallandt provided sweet corn from nearby Rogers Farm, and Brad and Joel grilled the ears in their husks over the charcoal for everyone as well.

Dr. Stephanie Burnett, Assistant Professor of Ornamental Horticulture, made sure that the vegetarians among us would have something delicious to eat as well!  She prepared tempeh and grilled vegetables.  From what I heard around the picnic, it was the best tempeh that most of the attendees had ever had!  (Nice work, Dr. Burnett!)  Luckily, there were several vegetarian options for our meat-free friends.  In addition to tempeh with grilled veggies and corn on the cob, Dr. Burnett and Instructor Jaina Young (Landscape Design, Construction) put together a large salad, and Jaina made a few vats of homemade baked beans!  For dessert, those who moved fast enough were able to get a square of homemade apple cobbler and espresso cookies!



While the picnic was going on, several Horticulture Club members took the initiative to weed the gardens in front of Deering Hall.  We all just want them to know how much we appreciate their hard work to make Deering Hall look so good.  Thanks, Katey Coulling (ENH), Zach Campbell (ENH), Meghan McLain (ENH), and Matt McAdam (ENH)!

It was a beautiful day, and many people remained to eat and talk.  Dr. Gallandt thanked everyone for coming and said that this year’s picnic was the most well-attended kick-off we’ve put on yet.  I guess next year we know what we have to live up to!













A special THANK YOU to the following people…

Dr. Eric Gallandt – for providing the grills and the sweet corn.

Brad Libby and Joel Whitney – for being the Grillmasters :o), and for helping to tear down!

Dr. Stephanie Burnett – for making a lot of yummy food, helping to set up and tear it all down…!

Environmental Horticulture Graduate Students, Shuyang Zhen & Jonathan Foster – for setting up and also tearing down (and, JF – for being generally hilarious).

Dr. Marianne Sarrantonio and Heather Simpson (ENH) – for washing dishes (yuck!) helping to tear it down.

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Image Description: Graduate student Aaron Englander enjoys some of that freshly grilled corn that came from our own Roger's Farm!

Image Description: Fourth year Environmental Horticulture student, Hope Hopkins, loves the grilled corn at the Welcome Back picnic, too!

Image Description: Second-year Environmental Horticulture Students, Patrick Vallaincourt and Shawn Casey at the PSE Welcome Back Picnic

Image Description: Senior Environmental Horticulture student, Joshua Drew, made it just in time to the PSE Welcome Back picnic to get some lunch before we closed up shop!

Image Description: Senior Environmental Horticulture student, Joel Whitney, finally gets to take a break from his Grillmaster duties!

Image Description: First year student, Ruby Daybranch, enjoys some freshly grilled corn-on-the-cob.

Image Description: Senior Landscape Horticulture student, Nicole Fici, with Associate Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, Dr. Marianne Sarrantonio.

Image Description: Thanks to Environmental Horticulture students (and members of the Horticulture Club!), Matt McAdam, Meghan McLain, Katey Coulling, and Zach Campbell (L to R) for weeding in the beds in front of Deering Hall!

Image Description: Derek Vachon, a third year Environmental Horticulture student, obliged me and posed with his grilled corn. I don't think he minded, though-- he said it was excellent!

PSE Academic Awards Reception

At the PSE Department Awards Reception on April 25th, 2012, awards were presented to undergraduates and graduates in the Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences.   The following awards were presented to the respective recipients; Bangor Garden Club Scholarship (Sara Tryzelaar), John F. Boyle Prize in EES (Maggie Burns), Samuel L. Boucher Horticultural Education Fund (Fang Geng), Cecil Brown Scholarship (Marcelo Rugini), Arthur C. Clayton Horticulture Scholarship (Sara Tryzelaar and Patrick Vaillancourt), Janet Engle Cormier Soil Science Scholarship (Jamie Brooker and Marcelo Rugini), Dr. Miroslaw M. Czapowskyj ’58 Scholarship (Jamie Brooker),  Eastern Maine Orchid Society Book Award (Heather Frey),  Mark and Charmaine Jensen Scholarship (Sara Tryzelaar),  Landscape Horticulture Scholarship (Sara Tryzelaar, Patrick Vaillancourt, Yuwen Yang, Joshua Drew, and Parris Avery), Lyle E. Littlefield Prize (Nicole Fici), Maine Landscape and Nursery Association Scholarship (Joshua Drew), Jane M. McCabe Memorial Horticulture Scholarship (Parris Avery), New England Farm & Garden Association/Margaret McKee Gerrity Scholarship (Nick Rowley), Ellen Louise Payson Landscape Horticulture Scholarship (Joel Whitney), Roland A. Struchtemeyer Scholarship (Neil Thompson) and Sustainable Agriculture Award (Emily Fox).  It was wonderful to have parents, other family members, and Donors present at the Department Reception and College Banquet.  Congratulations to all the award recipients and a big thank you to all our Donors for their continued support of our students!

Joshua Drew is the recipient of the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association Scholarship

Josh is this year’s recipient of the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association Scholarship.  MeLNA is a non-profit organization for the Maine green industries and plant lovers. Our Environmental Horticulture program works closely with MeLNA ( and very much appreciates their support. Each year, MeLNA awards a scholarship to an Environmental Horticulture student at the University of Maine. The recipient has to be a Maine residence and plan to work in Maine after graduation. The faculty and staff in the Environmental Horticulture program select the recipient based on the student’s academic merit and financial needs.

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Aaron Englander receives NESARE Graduate Student Research Award

Aaron Englander, a new M.S. student working with Ellen Mallory on the Local Bread Wheat Project (, was awarded $9,767 for his project “Farm-grown microbial soil inoculants: Effects on bread wheat yield and quality.”  The aim of his project is to evaluate the efficacy of two farm-produced microbial inoculants and one commercially-available inoculant on organic bread wheat yield and quality.  This project will help farmers evaluate whether to use microbial inoculants and whether inoculants can be produced effectively on their farms.


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Environmental Horticulture Students Attend PLANET Student Career Days

The Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days are annual, three day meetings of horticulture students from around the country.  At this event, students compete in skill-based events directly related to Green Industry Careers including landscape installation, plant identification, paver and patio installation, bidding and estimating, and landscape design.  They also attend a Career Fair where students meet prospective employers from around the country and find out about potential employment opportunities.  PLANET is held in a different location in the country each year which provides students with the opportunity to see new plants and horticultural techniques.  They also network with students from over sixty colleges and universities at this event.  Our student teams have enjoyed and benefited from these trips.

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Contact Information

Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences
5722 Deering Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5722
Phone: (207) 581-2947 | Fax: (207) 581-2999
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
A Member of the University of Maine System