The PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF) announced the recipient of its 2015 Outstanding Educator of the Year Award—Greg Davis, head of academic advising in the Horticulture, Forestry, and Recreation Resources department of Kansas State University. The award was presented March 15, at PLANET’s Student Career Days event, hosted by North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.

Davis earned a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture, a master’s degree in journalism and mass communications, and doctorate degree in ornamental horticulture from Kansas State University. He now teaches six different courses throughout the year at Kansas State, mostly in horticultural design.

Davis’s interest in horticulture and landscaping stem from an ongoing love of the outdoors and a small lawn care business he had in high school, making the decision to explore horticulture in his undergraduate work evident. His hands-on approach to teaching is credited for preparing students to take on careers in the industry.

In each landscape design class he leads, Davis schedules designs for real clients in real locations, allowing his students the opportunity to meet with clients, take site measurements of their home or business, create the design for the area, and present that design to the client. He sees the value in providing students with real-world challenges and opportunities, and encourages students to seek internships in the industry.

“I am truly humbled and honored to receive this award from AEF,” said Davis. “It means a lot to me professionally because it suggests validation for our program from this industry, whose leaders I respect greatly, for what we do day-to-day to prepare students for satisfying careers.”

The Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, developed by the PLANET AEF in cooperation with the PLANET Accreditation Committee, recognizes professors who have made significant contributions to landscape industry education. Educators nominated for this award have devoted time, energy, and enthusiasm to their programs and to the education of future leaders of the industry.