The ACS has awarded the 2017 scholarship to Cole Hamilton, a senior at Western Kentucky University majoring in Agronomy-Plant Science. Cole was born and raised in Owensboro, Kentucky, where his love for horticulture began at a very early age. When Cole was about 10 years old, he wanted to start a tree farm on the back part of his family’s property, so he planted 50 pecan and pine tree seedlings, many of which he had obtained from the local NRCS Arbor Day tree give-away. After the seedlings were planted, they were allowed to grow and become established for a year. He then grafted the trees, with the help of his grandfather, an experienced grafter, using scion wood from several different cultivars he had chosen for their various attributes. Cole’s interest in trees continued to grow throughout high school along with the size of his tree farm, which became the project for his Future Farmers of America (FFA) Supervised Agricultural Experience.
As a student at WKU, Cole has taken numerous horticulture courses, as well as recently attending a grafting seminar at the Baker Arboretum (an ACS Reference Garden) in Bowling Green. There he learned various grafting techniques that can be used on different tree species and was able to bring home several different cultivars of conifers that he had successfully grafted. Upon graduation, Cole hopes to become an agronomist for a seed and chemical company, while continuing to grow his love for conifers.
The $2500 ACS scholarship is awarded annually to a student in the fields of horticulture, plant science, forestry, conservation, dendrology or related disciplines. Please contact Jerry Kral, chairman of the scholarship committee, if you know of a deserving student.
Congratulations, Cole and thank you, Jerry!