Leaders of Colorado's green industry – encompassing many plant producers and professional services, has donated $100,000 to Colorado State University for research in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
The donation will be invested, and annual earnings from the endowment will provide a steady flow of research funding for years to come, says Stephen Wallner, department head.
"This research support is a nice example of partnerships our department and land-grant university have with Colorado agriculture," he states.
A group of Colorado industry associations jointly provided the gift. The group has annually funded research for nearly four decades. The endowment will allow a continuation of this support in perpetuity.
The funding will focus on special interest of the green industry, vows Wallner.
"We particularly appreciate this dependable research funding," he says of the perpetuity factor.
Donna Ralston, former executive director of the GreenCo Foundation and a leader in providing the donation, says that the green industry is especially interested in research that suggests solutions to water scarcity."
"Most of the issues in the industry revolve around water conservation, water use and plants that are more drought tolerant in our semi-arid climate," she notes. "We're interested in understanding everything from plant varieties to better irrigation techniques.
"Our industry continues to evolve, and research findings are critical to that."
The green industry is considered to be a critical component of the state's agriculture in Colorado," says Wallner.
Total revenues for the green industry in the state are estimated to be about $1.8 billion for the year 2007, according to figures from the most recent economic survey in Colorado. The green industry provides jobs for 35,000 workers, generating a payroll each year of $1.2 billion, the survey also shows.
The industry includes landscape architects, landscape contractors, nursery owners, greenhouse operators, garden centers, sod producers, lawn care professionals and tree and shrub vendors.