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New Mexico State University

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Green cultivates a hardy floriculture program at NMSU

Date: 04/04/2016

Woman works on floral arrangement
Sabine Whitley Green, NMSU?s floriculture programs coordinator in Plant & Environmental Sciences, designs an arrangement during the floral team?s weekly sale in Gerald Thomas Hall. (NMSU photo by Tiffany Acosta)

By Tiffany Acosta

Sabine Whitley Green arrived at New Mexico State University as a freshman in fall 1992, and she hasn?t left. As NMSU?s floriculture programs coordinator in Plant & Environmental Sciences, she has spent the past 13 years as a full-time staff member.

Green not only teaches students floral design and manages the weekly floral sales, she also takes the NMSU floral team to competitions in the summer.

?It?s nerve-wracking for me as a coach, and them as students, but it validates what they are learning,? she said. ?My students are extremely competitive, and at the regional shows the last couple of years, they have beat out professional florists that they compete against.

?One of the things that I?ve found is that the light bulb comes on when they go to competition and they understand this isn?t just an isolated program,? Green continued. ?There?s a whole world out there, not just for design. It?s for marketing, interpersonal communication, public speaking and world-wide trade.?

In July 2015, Green earned the highest national honor for floral designers, a national certificate from the American Institute of Floral Designers.

?I was excited, because it validates the program here,? she said, ?and it actually launches us into a more professional category as a school that hosts a floriculture program.?

With her new certification, Green can now take her students to the national competition and will for the first time in July 2017. She said her students often find employment at competitions.

?Competition, even though it is nice to get a ribbon or a trophy or scholarship, for us it?s more about the networking opportunities and that?s what I push on them ? networking in the industry.?

To fund the trips to compete in regionals and nationals, the NMSU floral team hosts weekly floral sales during the academic year every Wednesday morning in Gerald Thomas Hall.

After the floral team hiatus in the 1990s, Green helped Geno Picchioni, Plant & Environmental Sciences professor, revitalize the floral sale when she was a graduate student. The current format has been in place since 1997.

Green, who is a Chaparral, New Mexico, native and Gadsden High School graduate, didn?t believe she would make her own home in the Mesilla Valley.

?I always said I would be the first one out of here, because I?m a local girl,? she said. ?I thought I wanted to get out of this valley, but the doors opened for me, and the opportunities were there and you don?t say no.?

Outside of her work with the NMSU floriculture program, Green also cultivates her artistic side through different business ventures.

?The artist within me needs to find an outlet,? she said.

As the owner of Local Eyes with Green, a marketing company, she has the opportunity to feed her creative passions as the creative director for a photography studio in El Paso along with developing concepts, set design, space creation and retail space creation for clients across the Borderland. Additionally, Green produces TV commercials and how-to videos on YouTube.

Between the weekly floral sales and teaching students floral design, if you don?t find Green in Gerald Thomas Hall, you might just find her off campus wearing her artistic hat.

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