Irrigation Foundation names winning educator

June 3, 2013 -  By

The Irrigation Foundation has announced its 2013 Excellence in Education Award will go to Cathie Lavis, PhD, Associate Professor of Landscape Management, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

Headshot: Cathie Lavis

Headshot: Cathie Lavis

The Excellence in Education Award recognizes an educator who is actively teaching irrigation, water management and/or water conservation in affiliation with a two- or four-year institution. The award honors academics who play a critical role in developing educated professionals with the knowledge and skills to create efficient irrigation solutions that will protect water and the environment.

Lavis has been an unwavering supporter of educating the irrigation industry’s future work force, the Irrigation Association said. In addition to providing her students with a firm understanding of and appreciation for sustainable landscape irrigation practices, Lavis has worked closely with the Irrigation Foundation for more than a decade to develop standardized course materials for a national college audience.

She says her approach “combines rigor with hands-on learning that results in students prepared to work in an industry that faces looming water issues while creating environments that benefit us all.”

Lavis’ contributions to the irrigation industry were highlighted in award nominations submitted by both the head of KSU’s Horticulture, Forestry and Recreation Resources Department and by one of her former students.

In his nomination, Michael Fitzgerald, CLIA, Ryan Lawn and Tree, Kansas City, Kan., reported that he benefited greatly from both Lavis’ classes and her role as his academic adviser.  His nomination specifically recognized her Landscape Irrigation Systems course, which “stressed important issues, such as water conservation and efficiency, by using the highest level of technology available.” Fitzgerald also credited Lavis for “partnering with industry firms to provide materials to teach students the latest trends in the industry.”

Lavis will receive her award at this year’s Irrigation Show and Education Conference, which will be held November 6 and 7 in Austin, Texas.

Nominations for the 2014 Excellence in Education Award will open in September; visit the Irrigation Foundation web site to learn how to nominate an educator.

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