The Green Fund Initiative

A fund supporting the future of Department of Horticultural Science at NC State.

Nathan Lynch

As nurserymen, professionals of the green industry and constant gardeners, we understand the need to invest in a future still invisible, buried in the soil. Research, knowledge, and experience provide us with answers about which investments will yield plants. We trust the process.

But what about the people? Where is the investment in the next generations of people who will buy plants, who will care about plants, who will know how to grow plants, who will advocate for plants?

Is there a future for our plants without people engaging in our industry?

North Carolina is the third most diverse agricultural state in the U.S., with nearly all climatic and soil conditions represented.

Over the next 25 years, 84% of U.S Agricultural jobs are projected to be in the plant sciences disciplines, yet 80% of students enrolling in CALS apply for animal science majors. Where is our pipeline of green industry professionals?

We need young professionals to drive our businesses, explorers and breeders to find and create profitable cultivars, scientists to develop best practices and creative ideas and processes, and gardeners to love plants.

To address these issues, the Department of Horticulture Science actively teaches CALS students about careers in horticulture and, through myriad methods, actively recruits students into horticulture careers.

Are we maximizing revenue from this large diversity?

Every year the Department of Horticultural Science faculty conduct plant breeding, exploration, and propagation programs across the globe. NC State varieties of nursery crops such as butterfly bush, redbud, hydrangea, flowering quince, summer sweet, hypericum, pearlbush, and sweetshrub support North Carolina’s $719 million dollar nursery crop industry.

Our faculty drive the future of the ornamental horticulture industry through their research, engagement and teaching. As with the growth cycle of plants, we need to plant, nurture, and graduate people into careers. We must invest in the people who make up the horticulture world so that the cycle of plants may always be there.

diagramThe Green Fund provides resources for our faculty and staff to ensure the future of the ornamental industry, through educating the next generation, creating a market for plants, and providing the plants and knowledge to the industry.

Our goal is to raise $100,000 a year in support of this effort. Our long-term goal is to build a $2.5 million endowment. The use of these funds will be determined by ornamentals faculty in cooperation with industry leaders and will include student recruiting, student scholarships, faculty professional development, seed money for research projects, and outreach projects.

We invite you to be a champion for ornamental horticulture with a commitment of $5,000 to the Green Fund in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State through the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation, Inc. Your gift will support the education, research, and innovation that will carry the Green Industry to its full potential.

Give Now

Alycia Thornton


For questions or additional information, please contact:

Alycia Thornton
Executive Director of Development
Horticultural Science Department & JC Raulston Arboretum
NC State University
Office: 919-513-7068

Dr. Frank Louws
Professor and Department Head
Department of Horticultural Science
NC State University
Office: 919-515-3131