Professional Grounds Management Society salutes University’s Ground Services with top maintenance award

University wins, for the second time, Green Star Grand Award for University and College Grounds Mid-Size category

Members of the Professional Grounds Management Society stand on either side of University of Nevada, Reno Grounds Supervisors Travis Christiansen, second from the left, and Jeff Twedt, second from the right, who accepted the award, along with Grounds Maintenance Worker Jon Cady, on Oct. 17 at the PGMS conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

Professional Grounds Management Society salutes University’s Ground Services with top maintenance award

University wins, for the second time, Green Star Grand Award for University and College Grounds Mid-Size category

Members of the Professional Grounds Management Society stand on either side of University of Nevada, Reno Grounds Supervisors Travis Christiansen, second from the left, and Jeff Twedt, second from the right, who accepted the award, along with Grounds Maintenance Worker Jon Cady, on Oct. 17 at the PGMS conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

Members of the Professional Grounds Management Society stand on either side of University of Nevada, Reno Grounds Supervisors Travis Christiansen, second from the left, and Jeff Twedt, second from the right, who accepted the award, along with Grounds Maintenance Worker Jon Cady, on Oct. 17 at the PGMS conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) recognized the University of Nevada with a Grand Award in the Society's 2019 Green Star Awards® competition. The award, highest in its category, was given in the University and College Grounds – Mid-Size category for exceptional grounds maintenance. Winners were honored during the Society’s 2019 Awards Dinner held last month in conjunction with the School of Grounds Management & GIE+EXPO in Louisville, KY, Oct. 15-18. 

Grounds Services workers planting flowers in the large Veteran's Memorial planter outside the Pennington Student Achievement Center
Annual Planting at Veteran’s Memorial – This planter bed is a remnant of the former Noble H. Getchell Library which was demolished to make way for the new William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center. After the demolition, it was left undecided what this planter would become. There were plans discussed to turn it into a Veteran’s Memorial but sufficient funding has yet to be collected. It was decided by the Grounds Services department that a crisscross and diamond-shaped layout of geraniums, salvias, petunias, sweet alyssum and fountain grass would be installed in the interim. The display has lasted five years now and becomes a wonderful display of color before spring commencement. 

“This has been another successful year in Grounds Services,” Marty Sillito, assistant director for University Grounds Services. “Through the dedicated efforts of the team, Grounds Services has won, for the second time, a national recognition. We are pleased to bring another valued recognition to our team and campus.” 

Jeff Twedt, Travis Christiansen, and Jon Cady accepted the award on Oct. 17 at the PGMS conference in Louisville, Kentucky. 

The submission itself was a PowerPoint presentation featuring 26 digital high-resolution photos – 15 photos showing the overall beauty of campus, four photos showing the grounds team at work, four photos showing challenges and solutions faced while maintaining campus, one photo and description of sustainable practices, one photo and description of safety practices and one photo of the grounds manager. 

The submission summary included an explanation of the University’s Ground Services division – within Facilities Services – descriptions of the main campus and satellite campus locations, an overview of the annual budget, details on pesticide applications, fertilization, irrigation, abatement, arboretum maintenance, and a final account of the many special events that happen on campus landscapes in partnership with numerous contractors. 

Grounds Services workers planting flowers in the main roundabout
Annual color install for Commencement – Featured at the heart of the campus is the main roundabout which is viewed by thousands of visitors. As part of the new E.L Wiegand fitness building install, this roundabout lay desolate while design ideas were being determined. As spring commencement drew near, a quick decision was made to add annual color to serve as a temporary show piece for graduates and families to enjoy. Grounds services designed, laid out and installed over 2000 pink and purple petunias, geraniums and white sweet alyssum. Over the course of 3 days, garden soil was hauled in and mounded high to increase viewing potential and flowers and irrigation installed with 8 workers. After a short time, the appearance was stunning and the fragrance was incredible. It was installed the first week of May and continues to be a show stopper throughout the summer.

The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complimenting other national landscape award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction. Overall, PGMS presented six Grand Awards, its highest honor, as well as 14 Honor Awards and four Merit Awards in nine categories of competition. 

The mission of the University’s Ground Services is to provide outstanding quality services to all campus customers using the best management practices available, with a goal to provide a tier-one landscape for a Tier-One university. The departments practice the Wolf P.A.C.T., positive attitude, communication and teamwork.

Serving the profession for over 100 years, PGMS is an individual membership society of grounds professionals dedicated to advancing the grounds management profession through education and professional development. Further information on PGMS is available online at www.PGMS.org

Jimmie's Garden sits between Manzanita Hall and Manzanita Lake
Jimmie’s Garden – Located at the west side of Manzanita Lake, fragrant rock daphne fills the air in the spring. Hornbeam, Japanese Maple, Weeping Nootka Cypress, and a Japanese Pagoda Tree watch over the star magnolias, rhododendrons, perennial shrubs and flowers. Paver walkways and seating areas make this a favorite spot to sit and relax while admiring the view of the lake and enjoying the company of geese, ducks, and swans. Jimmie’s Garden was created by Jim and Mary Ann Kidder in memory of their son, James Ezra Kidder.
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