(By Jared Hoyle, KSU Turfgrass Research and Extension)
My wife and I are both educators but we are both very different educators. She teaches 8th grade language arts and I am an extension educator that teaches continuing education to turfgrass professionals. As educators we strive to help people find their passion but believe it or not every once in awhile we find someone that helps us find our passion or rekindle our passion that may have been overwhelmed for many different reasons.
Most of my educational presentations are not to students but every once in awhile I do get in the classroom and get to talk with undergraduate students. Most of my interaction with students is when I see them at their internship, summer job or out working at the Rocky Ford Turfgrass Research Farm.
One of those students is Slade Loewen. Slade is an undergraduate turfgrass student here at Kansas State University. Slade has worked out at Rocky Ford as well as many other golf courses in Kansas. So it is safe to say Slade has a passion for turfgrass, like many of us. But what you don’t know is Slade has a passion for something else. He enjoys working on cars, trucks, tractors, equipment, etc. Problem solving a piece of equipment that hasn’t ran in a couple years to rebuilding an engine in his wife’s car is something Slade has accomplished just in the past couple weeks.
When I moved here in April 2013 I noticed an old John Deere tractor out at the research farm. I always wondered why we haven’t used it and apparently the story goes… It was rebuilt, the battery got hooked up backwards and fried the electrical system. So it just sat there. Well a couple weeks ago Slade got to working on the tractor and took it on as a project. Long story short after some hard work, Slade was driving the tractor around Rocky Ford. Although it is an older tractor it will be put to great use.
What I noticed that day I pulled into Rocky Ford wasn’t the running tractor that I have never seen move but a young man “doing what he loves best”. We walked around that thing and he went through the entire process of what he did to get it running. That day I saw someone not only finding their passion but sharing it with someone else.
I try and share my passion for turfgrass through research and extension by many different outlets. I get overwhelmed, busy, anxious and sometimes just flat out burned out. That day at Rocky Ford, Slade helped me rekindle my passion. So when you find yourself overwhelmed, which is easy to do as a turfgrass manager, stop and remember your passion and look around at your employees, students, interns, etc. Look at the passion and motivation they have and use that as fuel to rekindle your own passion for the green industry.
As we enter Spring and Summer keep up the great work and always remember why we do what we do!