It was another successful year for the University of Minnesota, Crookston at the annual conference of the Mid-America Collegiate Horticultural Society (MACHS) held recently in Brookings, S.D. Placing second overall, the team from Crookston consisted of four juniors all majoring in horticulture: Ashlynn Hartung, Lindstrom, Minn., placed first in woody plant identification, first in herbaceous plant identification, and earned first place overall individual honors. Tim Staudahar, Hibbing, Minn., walked away with first place in woody plant identification, as well as herbaceous plant identification, and finished as the third place overall individual. Other members of the winning team were Catlin Kersting, Cloquet, Minn., and Mitch Sledge, St. Louis Park, Minn.

Additional horticulture students who competed individually included Ethan Kojetin, a junior from Atwater, Minn.; Sarah Lanners, a sophomore from Nashwauk, Minn.; Ashley Radke, a sophomore from Grand Forks, N.D.; and Amanda Thompson, a junior from Pine River, Minn. The MACHS team from the U of M, Crookston is coached by Theresa Helgeson, lab services coordinator and Sue Jacobson, instructor in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department.

The teams compete in the areas of plant judging, plant identification, and a general knowledge examination. This year's competition, which took place Oct 11-14, at South Dakota State University included teams from UMC, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Iowa State University, North Dakota State University, Northwest Missouri State, and Western Illinois University. The theme for this year's event was Local Treasures and celebrated the organization's 40th anniversary.

The MACHS competition will be held at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2013 followed by North Dakota State University in Fargo in 2014.

The MACHS organization and contest provide a means of communication between horticulture clubs of participating schools. Sharing knowledge and ideas is an important part of the gathering. The MACHS competition includes collegiate horticulture clubs from 12 Mid-American states.