By Kristine Moncada
As regular readers of our blog may have noticed, we recently started a new feature where members of our group who leave write farewell blog posts. See the articles by Garett Heineck My time spent in the University of Minnesota Turfgrass Science Program and Yinjie Qiu How did I become a turfgrass guy? My story with turfgrass science. Well, in the past year, we had several other members of our team leave, yet we weren't able to bid adieu in blog form. As it did not seem likely we could get them to write farewell blogs now that they have moved on to bigger and better things, we decided they still deserve to have some recognition. Here are some highlights of the great contributions that four people who recently left made while at the University of Minnesota with the Turfgrass Science Team.
Dr. Brian Horgan
Dr. Horgan had been a Professor of Turfgrass Extension and Research in the University Department of Horticulture for 15 years, but in August 2019, he left to become the Chairperson for the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. Truly, our team wouldn’t be where it is now if it hadn’t been for Dr. Horgan! He helped build TROE, the Turfgrass Research, Outreach and Education Center, where our team conducts most of its research and holds our field days. Much of his work included research on the transport and fate of nutrients in turfgrass and lawn water conservation. Another influential initiative for which he was responsible was the forging of a strong University of Minnesota partnership with the golf industry in Minnesota and nationally.
- The July 2019 issue of Hole Notes from the MGCSA has a tribute to Dr. Brian Horgan with throwback photos and articles about Dr. Horgan over the years, and a final interview by Matt Cavanaugh. This is a must read! Plus, the tribute contains neat photos showing the history of TROE.
- Dr. Horgan promoted of the sustainability of the golf industry with the Natural Capital of Golf project and the Science of the Green project.
- In October 2019, he was honored for making a substantial contribution to golf from the MGCSA - Dr. Brian Horgan Selected to Receive the Coveted Rebholz Award.
- His research publications are too numerous to list here, but check out this Research Gate link to learn more.
Dr. Jon Trappe
Dr. Jon Trappe came to our group after receiving his PhD from Purdue University and worked as a postdoctoral researcher for several years. He worked on a variety of projects including MnDOT roadside turf research, allelopathy of fine fescues, and homeowner outreach. He is now working as a Technical Agronomist at Midwestern BioAg.
- Jon often appeared on the WCCO Smart Garden radio show to answers listeners' questions on lawns. To listen to his broadcasts, some of the more recent dates were: 5/18/19, 6/8/19, 6/15/19, and 6/22/19.
- Some of the MnDOT projects on which Jon worked can be read about in depth in these published reports.
- Two articles authored by Jon from our blog - Still bagging your grass clippings? Let's clear up some of the myths... and Can we control lawn weeds without herbicides?
- Jon was featured on the PBS show Prairie Yard & Garden in the episode called Healthy and Beautiful Lawns.
Dr. Dan Sandor
Dr. Dan Sandor came to our group from the University of Arkansas. He was our social media pro and worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Metropolitan Council project relating to lawn water conservation. Dr. Sandor is now an assistant professor of Turfgrass Science at Virginia Tech.
- Dan oversaw the Minnesota State Fair display on smart controllers and lawn irrigation that reached thousands of fairgoers with a message of sustainable lawn irrigation practices.
- Dan’s primary project was the Metropolitan Council Twin Cities Lawn Irrigation Efficiency Study.
- Water Irrigation Audit, a video from the city of Woodbury, MN, features Dan demonstrating how to conduct an irrigation audit on a home lawn.
- Dan made national news when he was interviewed for an article, Raking leaves again this fall? Stop right now, in USA Today.
Dr. Chase Straw
Dr. Chase Straw came to our group from the University of Georgia where he worked on turfgrass and sports injury. He used his sports turf background to continue that research in sports turf, and also started a project on using moisture sensors on golf courses for precision irrigation. Dr. Straw’s new position is Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Management and Physiology at Texas A&M.
- Chase developed two easy-to-use mapping protocols for collecting and analyzing surface properties of golf courses and sports fields using commercially available devices and free software: Mapping protocol for golf courses and Mapping protocol for sports fields.
- Chase was featured in several articles in the MGCSA’s Hole Notes magazine - UMN Member Driven Research: Irrigation Sensors and Thick skinned with Dr. Chase Straw.
- Two articles authored by Chase from our blog - Are athlete injuries influenced by changes within a turfgrass sports field? and GPS athlete performance tracking devices for...sports field management?
We wish all four of our former teammates the best of luck! Much of the great work to which they contributed will continue. By the way, we have a number of other distinguished alumni (graduate students and postdoctoral associates) from our program; please check out our alumni page for details.
What’s coming in the future for our team? Well again, if you’re a regular reader of our blog, you will know that we recently hired two new people: Shane Evans, our Lawn Water Conservation Educator, and Gary Deters, our Field Facility Manager. We look forward to great new contributions from our new team members on our projects. Of course, the rest of the team will be working as diligently as always as well. Please continue to stay up to date on our work by reading this blog and by following our Twitter account (@UMNTurf)!