old main flag grass

Landscapers at USU mow an American flag into the grass at the Quad on Thursday morning.

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The Utah State University Logan campus has been recognized with a 2020 Green Star Grand Award by the Professional Grounds Management Society.

The Green Star Awards salute the grounds superintendent responsible for maintaining a well-manicured landscape year-round and brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence. This is USU’s first-ever Green Star Award.

“We are very excited to earn the Grand Award,” said Shane Richards, USU Landscape Operations and Maintenance Manager. “The landscape crew works very hard and their response to the odd year with COVID has been amazing. With the challenges we have had, they never missed a beat and found more ways to be creative, efficient, and more productive than ever before. In our industry, this award is a pretty high honor and the landscape crew is very deserving.”

USU received the grand award in the University and College Grounds category for a mid-sized university (200-499 acres). The grand award is the highest tier awarded by PGMS (Merit, Honor and Grand).

The categories used for judging are Turf Management, Landscape, Safety, Challenges and Sustainable Practices. University sizes are split into four categories (small, mid-size, large and urban). During the 2020 awards, PGMS awarded three merit, 14 honor and three grand awards in eight categories of competition.

“I also need to give credit to the administration at USU,” Richards said. “This award not only shows the hard work and creativity of the landscape crew, but it reflects how the university strives toward being excellent with everything they do. We could not have earned the award without the support from the university and the administration and professors that we work often and closely with day in and day out.”

During the 48th annual PGMS Green Star Award ceremony, which was held virtually, the master of ceremonies highlighted several features of USU’s campus, including:

—The colorful approach to the Alumni House

—The maintenance of the six-acre university Quad, which during the summer had the American flag mowed into the surface. The flag measured 470 feet by 240 feet, with each of the 50 stars measuring 14 feet in size.

—The 50-60,000 flowers grown each year in the campus greenhouse.

—The Willow Sculpture.

Grand award winners will have features in the PGMS Grounds Management Forum newsletter over the coming year.

The goals of the Green Star Award program are:

—To bring national recognition to grounds manicured with a high degree of excellence.

—To recognize individual professional efforts leading to high maintenance standards and high-quality appearance of the landscape.

—To challenge those responsible for maintenance of grounds throughout the country to achieve a higher level of excellence. In sponsoring this awards program, the Professional Grounds Management Society wish to extend its mission in promoting well-maintained landscapes throughout the country.

PGMS is an individual membership society of grounds professionals dedicated to advancing the grounds management profession through education and professional development. To learn more about PGMS, visit www.PGMS.org.

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