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Celebrating 53rd place

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Editor’s note: This is a report from Student Career Days by L&L intern and Cleveland Community College hort student Daniel Steffancin.

I didn’t win any of my events.

The best result I had at PLANET’s Student Career Days was in Arboriculture Techniques, taking lucky spot 13 with my awesome partner in the event, Anthony Angelotta. High five us, because we are stoked that we accomplished and earned that placement!

In a culture that celebrates number ones, with the number twos on down beating themselves up over it because they didn’t win, why should I be ecstatic over being number thirteen? Hell, let’s look at my being satisfied with placing 53rd in Weed and Turf ID, while we’re at it.

I think I have an ability to recognize and acknowledge the outstanding work and talents of my colleagues and admire it and celebrate it instead of resenting it. I have no direct control over their skills, only my own. I’m still a student, and even though I will have a degree by the end of the year, I’ll still be one, though my class room will change. It will be the workplace, because school can only provide me with so much, and my career will provide for me plenty of opportunity to improve my skills. I don’t know everything and someone please shake me if I ever claim that I do, because without learning new skills, techniques, information, and perspectives, I will have stopped caring at that point.

So, let’s not forget that I placed 17th in Plant Problem Diagnosis. My Tri-C classmate Amanda Bostick placed an awesome 5th! Amanda is the top 5th student from a PLANET accredited program of recognizing and knowing treatment for plant diseases and pests such as Sudden Oak Death and Bag Worms. I think she’s amazing. She was my study partner for this event and I can’t be happier she kicked my behind in it. She is probably responsible for me getting 17th place. She helped me along and drilled me every chance she got. Amanda, if you are reading this, thank you!

So let me now contradict my previous statement and beat myself up a little bit for placing 37th in Woody Ornamental ID. I did second guess myself and change 3 of my correct answers to 3 incorrect ones. What possessed me to do that?

What will I learn from that?

I need to relax and be confident in my gut instinct and take time to have fun and take it all in. Would it hurt to stop and smell the roses, or should I say, star magnolia that I did smell during the competition? And while I am doling out greeting card style advice, would it hurt for those number ones to stop and do the same?


April 2nd, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Meet the intern

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From left, Daiquiri, Daniel and Mole.

I’m pleased to introduce you to our new intern, Daniel Steffancin. He’s a student at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, where he’s working toward his associate’s degree in applied science in plant science and landscape technology

He’ll be helping us with some writing, editing and other magazine responsibilities. (We don’t make him get coffee. The sales guys take care of that.)

Take it away, Daniel!

I am pretty new to the green industry, and have yet to decide which direction and career opportunities I will pursue upon graduating, because I find nearly every facet of this industry fascinating and I want to do it all. I do have an interest in sustainable landscapes and am interested in green roofs and living walls in architectural design.

Skill-wise, I am an accomplished horticulture technician and I truly enjoy pruning (especially restoration pruning-helping to bring a long neglected shrub back to vitality) and arboriculture. Last year I worked as horticultural intern at Schoepfle Garden in the Lorain County Metroparks system.

I am the student organizer of Cuyahoga Community College’s Tree Campus USA, a student/administration/corporation collaborative to establish and nurture arboretums on college campuses with an emphasis on student participation and activities annually on Arbor Day.

I am also vice president of Tri-C’s PLANET student club. I will be representing Tri-C at the end of March at PLANET’s Student Career Days being held at Kansas State University. My events will be arboriculture techniques, plant problem diagnosis, turf and weed ID and woody plant ID.

I am very excited to get this great opportunity to intern for Lawn & Landscape magazine. This magazine is such an important resource for professionals in the green industry and I consider myself fortunate to be a part of it. I now get to hone my journalism skills, working on articles relevant to my studies and interests.

You can reach Daniel at If you’ll be attending PLANET’s Student Career Days later this month, say hello in person. We’re glad to have him on board.


March 1st, 2012 at 7:42 am

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