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2009 Field Day A FUN FILLED DAY

August 21, 2009
By Arthur Bruneau and Emily Erickson

An NC State block S painted into grass
Dr. Art Bruneau hugging Mrs. Gerry Gilbert
Dr. Art Bruneau posing with daughter Lisa Marie
Dr. Art Bruneau shaking hands with his son David
TCNC Executive Director Laura Nakoneczny speaks behind a podium
A man speaks to a group of people at NCSU field day
A man speaks to a group of people at NCSU field day
Four men stand on a putting green while one prepares to make a putt
A man speaks to a group of people at NCSU field day
Bob Erickson poses with two members of his Lake Wheeler staff
A man speaks to a group of people at NCSU field day

A Day for Honoring One of Our Own-Dr. Art Bruneau

All about Art

The second week of August typically seems to bring out the worst of weather, too hot, too wet, too muggy-you name it, Field Day seems to trigger weather's worst. But not this year-this year we had one of the most pleasant and enjoyable days I can recall since I have been attending NCSU's annual Turfgrass Field Day events over the past 8 years. It seemed that even the weather knew, this day was special-and like everyone else here at NC State, TCNC, NCSPA, the Carolina's GCSAA, and the more than 400 attending turf professionals, it pitched in to make it the best possible day it could for Dr. Art Bruneau.

Held at Lake Wheeler Turfgrass labs on Dr. Bill Gilbert Drive, the focus of this year's Turfgrass Field Day was in no small part, to honor Dr. Bruneau and his more than 26 years of dedication to the NCSU Turfgrass program. Dr. Bruneau was a long time friend and colleague of Dr. Bill Gilbert. Dr. Gilbert was founder of the NC State Turfgrass Program-so it was fitting to have the opening ceremonies on Dr. Bill Gilbert Drive, with his widow, Mrs. Gerry Gilbert attending.

As Dean Johnny Wynne opened the podium for Dr. Bruneau to step up, he asked him to share a few comments about his time here at NC State University. Dean Wynne asked Art to speak into the microphone more clearly, so people in the back could 'hear' what he had to say. As always, Dr. Bruneau was up for the task and stepped more closely into the microphone to accommodate everyone. What he didn't know, was that the Dean, and many members of the Turfgrass Workgroup were in on a little secret.

Dean Wynne was thinking on his feet asking Dr. Bruneau to 'step up and speak into the microphone', because as Art's back was turned to the Turfgrass Lab buildings, his family was being led up to the podium.

Dr. Art Bruneau is many things to us all, but I think we would have to say he is at heart- a family man. It was important to him to share this day and the festivities with his family- but his daughter is a missionary in Ireland. With small children, a husband, and the distance it was a challenge for Lisa Marie to get here for her Dad's special day. So, with the combined efforts of Art's family at home and here at NCSU, everyone pitched in to get Lisa Marie here- and keep it as a special surprise for her dad, and our friend, Dr. Art Bruneau.

Tears welled in more than a few eyes, as Art turned to see his family standing there. It was clearly, and truly a wonderful suprise. As the family embraced and took in the moment, it was clear to us all that among all the awards, certificates, accolades, and numerous heartfelt thanks and gifts that were bestowed upon him on this day-this was by far the most special.

Field Day

There were many other special moments throughout this year's turfgrass field day. It was the first chance for many members of the turfgrass community to meet NCSU's newest turfgrass breeder, Dr. Susana Milla-Lewis. Her success in genetics selection for plant commodity variety improvement programs is a solid stepping stone to her work directing North Carolina State's turfgrass breeding program. Actively working with members of the North Carolina Sod Producer's Association, Dr. Milla-Lewis has begun an exciting collection of turfgrass germplasms from around the globe. We look forward to seeing the seeds she sews.

It was also the first chance many attendees had at meeting new Turfgrass Council of North Carolina's Executive Director, Laura Nakoneczny. Laura has kicked the TCNC into high gear; more than 500 people attended this year's field day and memberships have been on the rise. Her constant communications with members allows them to be 'in the know'. Her efforts have allowed members to more quickly renew memberships and sign up for events like NCSU Turfgrass Field Day. As a result, memberships have steadily risen and the TCNC is on track to be stronger than ever. One trip to the office in Cary will tell you the TCNC phones don't stop ringing! Fresh new blood and a great old concept have joined together to rejuvenate this North Carolina turfgrass organization and revitalize the turfgrass industry's presence. To learn more about the TCNC and what a membership can do for you, visit:

Field Day attendees were able to listen to NCSU faculty and staff discuss the latest in turfgrass research. 30 minute stops were held at each station for attendees to listen to the presentation, examine the turfgrass itself, and of course TALK directly to the researchers. One of the greatest testimates to the Field Day program is the ability to address YOUR questions directly to the actual researchers and scientists-face to face. This annual event affords industry members an up close and personal audience with the University's premier research scientists. It is a key stone to the success of North Carolina State University's program and its work. Interacting and listening to the members of the industry who support the program continues to be one of the Turf Programs proudest achievements.

Want to learn how to grow great grass from the experts? Mark your calendars for August 11, 2010. Next year's NCSU Turfgrass Field Day will be held in Jackson Springs, North Carolina at the Sandhills Turfgrass Research Station.


Lunch was an outdoor picnic fair consisting of roasted hotdogs, hamburgers, baked bean, slaw and all the trimmings. Sweet tea, lemonade, and fresh cut watermelon were enjoyed by the field day goers under the NC Sod Producer's Shelter. A very special thanks goes to the O'Reilly Autopart Stores who generously donated misting fans to help keep attendees stay cool and refreshed. NC State Food Science chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream served up the perfect ending to a perfect Field Day.

Turfgrass Field Day and its events are co-sponsored by The North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc. Proceeds from these events will benefit the NC State Turfgrass Program through the NC Agricultural Foundation. READ MORE ABOUT:

Thank you field day sponsors!

2009 Field Day Bottled Drinking Water Generously provided by Smith Turf & Irrigation.

Please take a moment to thank them for their continued support towards making this event a success.

North Carolina Sod Producers Association logo Smith Turf & Irrigation logo Bayer Environmental Science logo Harrell's logo' Syngenta logo

Associate Sponsors

Arystal LifeScience logo Dow AgroSciences logo GreenResource logo Southern Ag logo Southern Seeds Inc. logo