It all Began with the University of Arizona Horticulture Club:
The U of A Horticulture Club was founded at The University of Arizona in 1965. The interest of faculty advisor Peter Steponkus nurtured the Club into a working organization that became chartered by ASHS in 1967. Dr. Steponkus left for Cornell that same year, and the club fell apart due to lack of faculty interest.
UA Horticulture Club is Reborn:
Interest in restarting a club was shown in 1973 and a club was started under the direction of faculty members LeMoyne Hogan and Paul Bessey. The club got off to a slow start and interest waned in the spring semester.
The Fall of 1974 saw more meetings with speakers & programs and more varied activities undertaken by the club. The traditional Christmas pecan sale as a money-raising project was renewed.
1st Plant Sale:
In 1975 the club began to think of using a greenhouse to experience producing their own plants for sale. Members of the cllub had grown some plants as part of a university field practicum course. These plants were turned over to the club and sold with proceeds going to the club's treasury.
In 1976 action was started by the club to win administrative approval for a permanent area where the club could have the educational advantage of growing their own plants. The support of the department head was gained and eventual approval of the college dean was won late in the spring semester of 1977.
A pipe-and-beam framed greenhouse structure to be covered with polyethylene film was designed in the Fall of 1977. Construction began and proceeded slowly through the Spring semester of 1978. The structure was covered with a single layer of used film but was lost in a dust storm.
The club relocated to the Plant Sciences teaching greenhouses behind the Old Chemistry building. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the Horticulture Club utilized the greenhouse to its fullest extent. Meetings were held for an hour, once per week. During that time, members learned how to propagate plants, maintain healthy plants, and market plants at plant sales.
Plant sales provided the club with financial support required for pots, soil, and other essential supplies. The sales also introduced students and faculty of the University to the plant world. Every other week, individuals passing by the "Horticulture Club Plant Sale" would stop to ask questions about plants and to share stories about personal plants. It allowed club members to brush up on plant nomenclature as well as plant care.
Club members performed community service as well. Workshops were held at local nurseries, teaching individuals how to plant and maintain houseplants. In addition, planting projects at elementary schools allowed interaction between members and students interested in horticulture. Donations from the Club were made to College of Agriculture and Life Sciences events.
Greenhouse Torn Down:
In late 2003, the club learned that their greenhouse would be torn down, along with the other greenhouses behind Old Chem. This was due to an expansion plan for the Old Chem building. At first, no replacement greenhouse was going to be provided. Fortunately, space was allocated for the Club in the yet-to-be-built greenhouses on top of the 6th St. parking garage. Unfortunately, the replacement greenhouse would not be provided for at least a year. The club struggled to save its huge collection of plants it had accumulated over the years. Members kindly provided temporary homes for the plants, most of which were plants that could not be found in any nurseries.
When the greenhouse was torn down in early 2004, the club had to shift focus from plant propagation to member education and campus projects. More speakers were called upon to give presentations to the group. Annual tree plantings (something that began in in the late 1990s) continued and expanded to include other campus planting projects. As the University campus was designated an Arboretum in 2003, the club was able to contribute to the maintenance of it. Field trips, which had occurred in small frequency from the late 1990s to early 2000s, became another avenue the club members used to share time together.
The Club Gets Greenhouse Space Again:
In 2006 the club began renting a table in one of the research greenhouses at the CEAC, but space was limited, and as such so was propagation. In the fall of 2007, the club was given an old greenhouse that was formerly being used for research. We cleaned it up and made some repairs to get it up and running. Club members were excited to have their own propagation space again, and it wasn't long before they began having regular plant sales on the UA mall again.
New Club Advisor:
In 2010, long-time hortclub advisor, Libby Davison, retired, and Tanya Quist took on leadership of the club.
After 2 years of struggle, the club has been reborn under the administration of a new group of students. The Horticulture club was rebranded as the Life Science Student Association, in an attempt to broaden the scope of the club. The current aim of LSSA is to establish a thriving and successful community organization that will serve as the center for a variety life science related activities and discussions.
We decided under new leadership to rename ourselves UA Plant Science Club.