Projects, Contests & Activities

For additional information, consult the project chairperson: Susan Schoneweis; 609 Bertrand St.; Manhattan, KS 66502; Phone: 785 313-7716; Email:

Horticulture Essay Contest

This project is designed to stimulate youth interest in writing and research on horticultural subjects. It can be integrated into high-school English and research classes to make students more aware of the scope and opportunities in horticulture.

Who Can Participate

15-18 and  19-22 years old, individuals.

Project Requirements

A 1500-2000 word paper with at least five references.

Topic Ideas

(The following are only ideas, you may write about any horticultural subject that interests you. )

  • Marketing of _____ (your choice of horticultural crop(s))
  • Recent advances in _____(some area of horticulture)
  • Horticulture in history or the history of horticulture...
  • The role of horticulture in human nutrition.
  • Use of beneficial insects in horticultural production.
  • Plant breeding– developing new cultivars
  • The importance of water quality in horticultural production.
  • Biotechnology and Horticulture
  • Integrated Pest Management in horticulture
  • Traditional pest management vs. organic pest management
  • Hydroponics
  • Horticultural therapy
  • Famous landscapes or landscapers in history
  • All about the tropical fruits I’d never heard of until I started horticulture judging

Bibliographic / Reference Sheet -- Acceptable references include horticulture journals, trade publications, text and reference books, Cooperative Extension & USDA publications, plant society WWW sites, encyclopedias, et al.

Essay Format

  • Times New Roman, 11 or 12 point font should be used; left and right one-inch margins, single spaced within paragraphs with double spaces between paragraphs. Body of the paper left-justified. Do not use full-justification!
  • Entries should be bound in a clear plastic binder.
  • A cover sheet should have the title of the paper, student's name, age, date of birth, address, telephone number, and e-mail address if available.
  • Name, address and phone number of the teacher(s) or leader(s) who may have provided assistance. Starting with the second page, each sheet should be numbered in the bottom center with the participant's name appearing in the upper right hand corner of each page.
  • E-mail address(es) for local radio station(s) and newspaper(s)

References should be cited on a separate bibliographic sheet following the Turabian Style Guide. The guide can be found at:


  • Content and originality (65%)
  • Form, grammar and punctuation (25%)
  • References (10%)


National Award Winner -- Up to three individuals in each age division are eligible to receive a medal. National Award Winners are eligible to return for competition the following year in the same age division of this project area. In the event that an essay of sufficient quality is not entered, no National Award will be presented.

Grand National Award Winner -- One individual in each age division is eligible to receive a medal. A Grand National Award winner is not eligible for further competition in the same age group. A National Award Winner in the 15 to 18 year old category many return the following year in the 19 to 22 year old category even though she/he may not be 19 years old. In the event that an essay of sufficient quality is not entered, no Grand National Award will be presented. A Grand National winner may also receive a cash award in this competition.

Awards Sponsor:
Wisconsin Master Gardeners
Byron Hacker
N4511 Hwy 57
Chilton, WI 53014
Home Phone: 920 849-2654
Work Phone: 920 849-4714

Entry Deadline

There is no limit on the number of entries from any state. Entries must be postmarked by September 23.

Mail entries to the Susan Schoneweis, project chairperson, address listed below.