Lynda Wightman was such an enjoyable speaker for seminar today. As an employee for Hunter Industries and Chairman of the Board for the Irrigation Foundation, she had a lot to say about water conservation and efficient irrigation systems.
Lynda explained that water is the #1 most valuable resource in the world. She stated that the horticulture industry is very visible and, as part of that industry, we are stewards of this most precious resource. A large percentage of water is wasted due to lack of education to the public, improper installation of irrigation systems, as well as inefficient systems. She went over the new water conservation technology such as: Weather/soil sensors-sensors that are sensitive to weather conditions like rain and wind, and monitor sprinklers accordingly, Low Precipitation/high uniformity equipment-equipment that measures precipitation vs. infiltration and monitors sprinkler accordingly, Climate-based irrigation controllers-systems that read sun radiation/evapo-transpiration rate/humidity/etc. daily, among others. She did stress, however, that equipment and technology is only as smart as the installer and maintainer.
We need to be proactive in conserving water because it is in critical supply. Ben Franklin said, "When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water." Lynda then spoke about the 'going green' measures the industry is taking. She said, "Going green is here, it's not a trend. [It's] here to stay." She spoke a lot about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and SITES, an association that deals with water conservation within LEED. It's important for people in every aspect of the horticulture industry to be familiar with these and other legislative initiatives. We need to be aware and know what's going on so we can be on top of our industry.
Lastly, she talked about being involved in the Irrigation Foundation. This foundation has two goals: Investing in Education and Advancing the Industry. They help develop materials for irrigation classes for college students and promote careers for those students. The Irrigation Foundation is also highly involved in PLANET, which involves a number of our students every winter semester.
Our aim for the Department of Horticulture at Brigham Young University-Idaho is to nurture understanding of both the art and science of Horticulture. Students learn experimentally in the classroom, laboratory, greenhouse, and ten acre Thomas E. Ricks demonstration garden as they pursue an Associates or Bachelors Degree. Using the medium of plants, students develop habits of hard work, enlightened minds, and healthy living that assist in gainful employment opportunitues.