FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lisa Schaumann
Contact: Heather Finney
PLANET AEF NAMES 2013 OUTSTANDING EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR
HERNDON, Va., March 22, 2013 — The PLANET Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF) recently announced the recipient of its 2013 Outstanding Educator of the Year Award—Dr. Joseph Eakes, Jimmy and Chris Pursell Endowed Professor of the Department of Horticulture at Auburn University. The award was presented March 10, 2013, at PLANET’s Student Career Days event, hosted by Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.
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.
Dr. Eakes demonstrated his leadership potential right from the start. He was top of his class in the College of Agriculture at Auburn University, where he received his bachelor’s degree and later went on to earn his master’s. He then spent a few brief years teaching at Virginia Tech and later returned to Auburn, where he earned his doctorate and began teaching in 1989. Eakes started the Auburn PLANET Student Chapter early on in his career and is still the lead adviser and has brought the group to Student Career Days ever since.
In addition to the PLANET chapter, Eakes has been involved with several programs supporting the landscape industry, two of which include the Auburn Landscape School—a program that Auburn hosts each summer for state and regional landscape professionals and extension service employees, and HortiCollege—an education program put on by FarmLinks at Pursell Farms, which is attended by industry professionals from across the country.
Students and peers admire his many qualities, including his humility, selflessness, dedication, patience, passion, diligence, confidence, and creativity. While he is known for answering questions with more questions, his students quickly mature from curiosity to knowledge to skill.
“This is the most meaningful award that I have received in my 27 years of teaching because it was student driven and the award selection was made by a group of successful industry professionals,” said Eakes. “I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to work with these young people.”
To view a video of Dr. Eakes nomination, put together by his students and peers, visit PLANET’s YouTube channel. For a photo, please contact Heather Finney or Lisa Schaumann. For more information about the PLANET AEF, you may contact PLANET at 800-395-2522 or visit the PLANET AEF section on PLANET’s website at www.LandcareNetwork.org
About PLANET AEF
Committed to the advancement of professionals in the green industry, PLANET AEF was created to help green industry students, the potential future leaders of the industry, fund their education. These leaders of tomorrow will define the standards of professionalism and use their education to meet the challenges of the future.
PLANET is the national trade association representing more than 100,000 landscape industry professionals, who create and maintain healthy, green living spaces for communities across America. PLANET members are committed to the highest standards in industry education, best practices and business professionalism. Many of PLANET’s professionals have attained the status of becoming Landscape Industry Certified, achieving the greatest level of industry expertise and knowledge. Visit PLANET at www.landcarenetwork.org.