Blooming in Action: Aesthetic Horticulture

By: Laura Parrish, Chaney Merritt, Grace Chung, and Daionna Thompson


From left to right: Grace Chung, Laura Parrish, Chaney Merritt, and Daionna Thompson

What does agriculture and art have in common? Besides starting with the letter “a”, they both are elements of aesthetic horticulture. Aesthetic horticulture is the aesthetic cultivation of ornamental plants, fruits, vegetables, and flowers in gardens and landscapes. It combines agriculture, environmental design, botany, and the visual arts. In the Governor’s School for Agriculture, aesthetic horticulture was offered as an elective. This particular class was focused on floral design, which all of us selected and enjoyed.

At the beginning of our aesthetic horticulture class, we learned about a variety of different arrangements and critiqued them. Further into the class we focused more on the arrangement we were going to be making later on, the mound. The mound arrangement is a mass arrangement used as a centerpiece for a round table. It consisted of two different colors of mums, with one dominating color creating the dimensions, accompanied by leatherleaf fern as greenery. Our various arrangements, as seen above, will be used at the Gov. School Banquet on Friday night.

The first day was very informational for the group. The professor gave us a break down of the color wheel chart and principles and elements of art. The second day was more hands on, and the group was very excited to learn how to snip the stem of the leatherleaf fern with two types of shears. The final day, the group got to make a mound floral design.. It was very enjoyable because we actually were able to create something for everyone to see and we can keep our creation.

Here is a video showing how to create a mound arrangement:

Meals for the Brave

By: Helen Sweeney, Jessica Lu, Frances Lu, and Degsteen Afful

As we reached the midway point of Week 3 of GSA, the food science students shuffled MRe.3apprehensively towards a table piled high with brown packages. After spending the week listening to Dr. Joe Eifert lecture on Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs), it was time to try the military rations packets for ourselves. MREs are totally self-contained complete meals as well as the main operation food ration for the U.S. Armed Forces. Each and every menu item has been extensively studied by food scientists and averages 1,250 calories per package containing the MRE.2optimal balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to keep our armed forces in prime health.

Each MRE package contained something different and unique in taste. Ranging from beef stew to chicken pesto pasta, each package contained a variety of snacks such as skittles, sugar cinnamon cookies, and nuts, and also powdered versions of drinks like coffee and orange juice. Each package contained a hot pack that heated the food while reacting with water. Toilet paper was also provided within each MRE package for the soldiers after every meal.

MRE.1Students were also given the opportunity to sample each other’s foods. Dan, pictured in the third image, went around sampling everyone’s packages and as you can see, he approved of the MRE meals! Overall, we enjoyed our experience and have a newfound appreciation for D2 dining. We have also developed a lot of respect for our soldiers and thank them for their service to our beautiful country.

Trip to the Vet

By: Emily Resau, Emily Sheng, Madeline Johnson, and Lindsay Hanks

For animal science this week, we have been visiting the Virginia-Maryland College of
Veterinary Medicine on campus. At the vet school, we met with veterinarians, current students, and technicians. They gave us tours of the facility and an opportunity to learn more about veterinary medicine.

Clinical Practice
On Tuesday, we practiced in the clinical skills room. The clinical skills room is a
classroom that contains different stations that have various aspects of veterinary surgery, such as IV catheter placement and injections. The vet students demonstrated small animal CPR, large animal palpation, and clinical instrument handling.
Our favorite station was placing the catheters and practicing intramuscular injections. At
the catheter station, the vet student first gave us a demonstration of placing a catheter. It is first placed by inserting the needle in the vein, and when a flash of blood (for practice, blood is substituted by red food coloring) is visible, then you pull out the needle. Quickly following that, you insert a plug into the catheter to block the flow of blood. At the intramuscular injection station, we practiced inserting needles into the muscular areas the imitation dog they provided.
In order to insert an intramuscular needle, the vet first locates the muscle that is going to be injected. Next, the protective cover is removed from the syringe. Then, with the bevel in sight of the one who is injecting the needle, the shaft is inserted into the muscle at a ninety degree angle until all that is seen is the hub. The vet then pulls back the syringe to check for blood. If there is no signs that the needle has hit a blood vessel, then the vet pushes the syringe quickly to insert the vaccine/ medicine and pulls out of the muscle. If blood does appear, then the needle is removed and a new site is found.

Vet.1 this is a short video about placing a catheter into a dog.


Got that Golden Touch?

By: Lillian Cai, Piper Goodman, Carley Knight, Rose Rasty

Did you know in most developing countries children go blind because of vitamin a deficiency? What if I told you there is currently a food that could prevent the millions of deaths that occur from this, but it’s not being utilized due to public backlash? GMO.1This food is called “Golden Rice”, named for its slightly yellowish tint.

Rice is a huge staple in many culture’s cuisines, from Asian to African dishes. This is likely why it was targeted as the crop to combat vitamin A deficiency. Genetically modifying this crop to produce vitamin A, which is something so prevalently eaten, would be a very effective way to reduce the illness and mortalities associated with this deficiency. Rice, as we know it, is white or  brown. However, “Golden Rice” is genetically modified to produce the beta-carotene vitamin making it visibly unique and high in the vitamin A nutrient so many people lack naturally in their diets that we, in America consume from eggs, carrots, leafy greens, sweet potatoes or other vitamin rich foods. You might ask, why this huge epidemic is not being resolved with such a simple solution we have already created? It’s because of the controversy surrounding the use of GMOs in major crop production which has created “bad press” for this crop that lead to it not being grown anywhere for commercial use. This includes the belief that GMOs are unnatural, harmful, or economically unviable. In particular many worry companies such as GMO.2Monsanto are monopolizing the production of such crops. However, this is not the case. Golden Rice is a feasible solution to an ongoing issue,with no proven signs of harmful effects.

The use of Golden rice could substantially reduce rates of vitamin A deficiency in developing countries. Throughout our studies of GMOs, courtesy of Governor’s School,  we have learned how harmless and effective they are. The issues surrounding GMOs are mostly misconceptions. It is up to us as individuals and the next generations of agricultural producers & scientists to expose the real truth behind GMOs and their utility for cases such as vitamin A deficiency, and eventually global hunger.


Further Reading: