PGMS Award

Penn State recognized for exceptional grounds maintenance

Monday, October 28, 2019

For the second year in a row, Penn State was recognized with an Honor Award from the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) as part of the society’s 2019 Green Star Awards competition. The award was given in the University and College Grounds category for exceptional grounds maintenance.

The Penn State grounds at University Park are a continuous point of pride for Penn State faculty, staff and students. The grounds have previously been recognized by ArbNet as an accredited arboretum, Tree Campus USA, and by PGMS with a Grand Award, as well as a Four Star Landscape Management and Operations Accreditation Award.

The Office of Physical Plant grounds maintenance crews are responsible for more than 1,000 acres, 80 miles of sidewalk, 400 container plantings, around 17,500 trees, and an average of almost 50 inches of snow annually. The crews utilize a variety of sustainable practices, such as planting native species of plants, installing and maintaining rain gardens to aid in stormwater management, and switching from gas powered to electric hand tools. In addition, a tree and soil protection program aids in protecting the campus landscape around construction projects.

Manager of Grounds and Equipment Ryan McCaughey developed the award submission and received the award on behalf of Penn State at the society’s 2019 awards dinner.

The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, complementing other national landscape award programs that recognize outstanding landscape design and construction. Overall, PGMS presented six Grand Awards, its highest honor, as well as 14 Honor Awards and four Merit Awards in eight categories of competition. To view a complete list of winners, visit