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Rio Grande Basin Initiative awards grant to NMSU professor

New Mexico State University professor Rolston St. Hilaire has received a grant to help fund his current book "Landscape Plants for the Lower Rio Grande Basin," given by the Rio Grande Basin Initiative project.

What started 10 years ago for St. Hilaire as a compilation of notes, turned into a three-year project for the new textbook. He said his motivation came from his students who wished they had a more in-depth textbook on landscape plants.

"I wanted it to be different from other books I've seen because I felt they were strong in one aspect and weak in the other," St. Hilaire said.

Approximately $8,000 of the grant went directly into the publication of the book. The text is currently being sold in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. The price of the book is $35 and the money goes back into a fund that supports the department's teaching mission. The sales will also help St. Hilaire in developing a second edition of the reference book which he is working on now.

"I learned serious lessons that first time," St. Hilaire said. "For people wanting to write a book, a technical book, they should probably start small."

St. Hilare said he now realizes the amount of work and time that goes into publishing a textbook. With the help of the grant money, he was able to hire a team of editors and a student photographer to help with the work load.

St. Hilaire expects to have the second edition of the book finished within the next two to three years.

The Rio Grande Initiative project is a collaboration between the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Texas A&M University System Agriculture Program, and local irrigation businesses and the community to help in the conservation of water. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.