Who in their right mind goes to the snowy mountains of Utah when all their friends are thinking about Spring Break in Florida?  Success-minded Stockbridge and UMass students seeking to impress employers, that's who.

Each year, top Stockbridge students in Landscape Contracting, Arboriculture, and Horticulture, as well as Urban Forestry, Landscape Architecture, and Sustainable Community Development, are selected to join the UMass team to compete at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC).  This year's 3-day powerhouse gathering was held at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

The National Collegiate Landscape Competition is an annual event which brings together top landscape and horticulture students, and the top industry companies seeking to hire them. 

Some 650 students demonstrated their skills in real-world competitive events, for example designing outdoor spaces using 3D software, using construction equipment to safely excavate and efficiently carry loads, installing concrete unit paver pads following a specific design plan, installing outdoor plants, and showing their climbing skills using ropes and harnesses. The competitive events are judged by employers, creating excellent opportunities for them to observe the skills of our students, and to potentially offer them interviews for paid positions.

The UMass NCLC team placed 14th out of 50 competing college and universities—quite impressive considering that with only 11 members, the team did not have competitors in every event.  Within the team, Stockbridge students scored some laudable victories.

Arboriculture and Community Forest Management student Henry Holmes, still in his first year of the program, won 1st place in the Skidsteer/Tracked Loader Operation event, navigating a CAT Skidsteer through a complex course while carrying a weighted load.  Across all events, Henry earned 3rd place out of all 650 students in attendance.

In the Landscape Maintenance Operations event, testing for a thorough understanding of maintenance equipment operation and safety, Nicholas Cammarano and Sean Weber placed 3rd.  Cammarano and Weber are Landscape Contrating graduates now in the bachelor's degree program for Sustainable Community Development.  James Walston earned 5th place in the 3D Exterior Landscape Design event.

Landscape Contracting student Connor Salmon showed off his design skills and strong hand-eye coordination, placing 6th in Computer-Aided Design, and also 4th in the Compact Excavator event.

The teamwork of Sean Weber and Landscape Contracting major Dante Filadoro earned them 6th place in the Hardscape Installation event.  The dynamic duo of Arboriculture major Henry Holmes and Urban Forestry major June Moulis placed 5th in the Arboriculture Techniques event. 

Usually quiet and reserved, Henry climbed down from his tree with these defining words... "I think I like competing!"

A 3-person team of Nicholas Cammarano, Braeden McKenna (Landscape Contracting), and Dante Filadoro placed 6th in Landscape Plant Installation.  Landscape Architecture major Eli Spencer earned 6th place for Interior Design, and Henry Holmes took 6th place in a third event—the Mini Tracked Loader Operation competition.

Dozens of the industry's largest manufacturers and suppliers are in attendance each year, making this a powerhouse event for those in the green industries.  Students have the opportunity to network with top companies, meet professional Stockbridge and UMass alumni some of whom have very successful companies, and attend the largest career fair in the landscaping and horticulture industries. 

Because Stockbridge is part of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) at UMass Amherst, our students get help from the CNS Career Center to improve their resume and interview skills before traveling to the event.  Stockbridge students have been known to return from this competition with job offers in hand.  UMass has a career center on campus ready to serve every student major.

Stockbridge School of Agriculture is a stalwart of the landscape and horticulture industries, with an alumni employer network rivaling most agricultural schools.  Our centrality to the industry was on display when Stockbridge student Dante Filadoro was awarded the R.P. Marzilli Anbassador Scholarship.  Bob Marzilli is a proud alum of the Stockbridge School, sits on the Stockbridge Alumni Advisory Board, and is the owner of R.P. Marzilli Landscaping.  The scholarship was awarded by another UMass alum, President of the National Association of Landscape Professionals Foundation Chris Joyce.

Stockbridge alumni are extremely supportive of our school, playing a large role in covering the travel and hotel costs for Stockbridge students. 

These alumni donations, along with corporate donations, and donations from the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals, the Massachusetts Arborist Association, the MA Tree Wardens and Foresters Association, and New England International Society of Arboriculture make possible the team's participation in excellence-producing events like this one.  Our alumni employer network also provides internships to our students—work-and-learn experiences where students can earn money and academic credits at the same time, and graduate with field experience on their resume and a relationship with at least one employer.


The UMass 2024 NCLC Team
Sean Heino (Turfgrass Management)
Henry Holmes (Arboriculture)
June Moulis (Urban Forestry)
Dante Filadoro (Landscape Contracting)
Connor Salmon (Landscape Contracting)
Braedon McKenna (Landscape Contracting)
Robert Vanaria (Landscape Contracting)
Nicholas Cammarano (Sustainable Community Development)
Sean Weber (Sustainable Community Development)
James Walston (Landscape Architecture)
Eli Spencer (Landscape Architecture)
Michael Davidsohn, MCLP, NALP (Faculty Leader)
Kristina Bezanson, ISA BCMA®, Municipal Specialist®, TRAQ, MCA, MQTW (Faculty Assistant )