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Planting seeds for success

Floral team helps students flourish in future endeavors

Floral design is not the only skill the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences’ floral team teaches students. Creativity, teamwork and leadership are a few of the many seeds the floral team plants in students to help them grow in their professional careers.

“It is not just about the flowers, but the other aspects that it teaches you,” says Monica Taylor ’09, a former member of the floral team. 

NMSU’s floral team was initiated in the 1980s but dissolved in the 1990s until it was reestablished in 2003 when Sabine Green ’06, floriculture program coordinator, became faculty adviser. The floral team provides learning opportunities through the floricultural curriculum and regional and national competitions. 

“In the program, we do layer sources of education of design, greenhouse growing and we have a marketing aspect and a human resources aspect which include scheduling fundraisers,” Green says. “We also do a lot of networking with industries that include textile marketing, technology and business management. All of it together creates a finished product, so our students have experience of a multitude of different things.”

NMSU’s floral team has only been eligible to attend the national competition for the last four years and placed first in both of last year’s national and regional competitions in July 2023. 

While she was not able to compete at the national level, Taylor competed regionally and was secretary, treasurer and president during the eight years she was on the floral team. As a political director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, Taylor still practices the skills the floral team provided her. 

“It is one of the best floral design teams in the country and they prove it every time they go to competitions. It is a great program that Sabine has run over the years,” Taylor says. “It was a great experience in teamwork, leadership and time management. In my current position, I plan and host a lot of events, so everything I learned from the floral design team was helpful with my professional career.” 

Green says most of the alumni continue to support and sponsor the floral team. Taylor is one of the sponsors and also continued her friendship with Green, whom she asked to design her wedding flowers.  

“The relationships last,” Green says. “I love it.” 

As secretary of the floral team for three years, Amador Gonzales ’22 competed in NMSU’s first national competi-tion in 2019. In his professional career, he uses the vital skills he gained from his time with the floral team.

“What was great about the floral competition was we were given the freedom to express ourselves creatively while also following industry standards and current design trends,” Gonzales says. 

As an agriculture teacher and FFA adviser at Grants High School in Grants, New Mexico, Gonzales says being a member of NMSU’s floral team benefited him in his career. He regularly communicates with Green, since she is the superintendent for the FFA floriculture competition and continues to support the floral team.

  “It was very enlightening and a great opportunity to learn skills that I teach in the classroom here in Grants,” he says. “There are several students who join my classes solely because they want to learn how to be creative and how to have that creative outlet in their educational settings. 

“I like to think that floral design is a very therapeutic type of activity, so giving them that outlet is something I am excited to share with my students, and continue to teach and pass down the knowledge that I gained thanks to the NMSU floral team and Sabine Green’s guidance.”

Cristina Benitez creates a Thanksgiving centerpiece during a floral team work session.

Cristina Benitez creates a Thanksgiving centerpiece during a floral team work session. 

Sabrina Montoya (left) and Sabine Green, floricul­ture program coordinator, make Thanksgiving centerpieces. NMSU’s floral team was rees­tablished in 2003 when Green became faculty adviser.

Sabrina Montoya (left) and Sabine Green, floriculture program coordinator, make Thanksgiving centerpieces. NMSU’s floral team was reestablished in 2003 when Green became faculty adviser. 

“It is not just about the flowers, but the other aspects  that it teaches you.” —monica taylor