by Shannon Takahashi
“I’m excited that TPSS is being featured on a national scale,'' says Myles Ritchie, when asked how he feels about being featured in the latest publication of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) newsletter. Myles was recognized as one of the top horticulture student researchers in the nation when he was featured in last month’s ASHS graduate student spotlight.
Myles hails from Toronto and came to UH to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geography and is now studying heritage trees as a part of his PhD studies with the Dept. of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences. His research focuses on improving program mechanisms for heritage trees in Hawaiʻi and internationally, and bridging the gap between horticulture experts and those improving conservation efforts for heritage trees.
Myles takes a hands-on approach to working with heritage trees and studying their interactions with the urban environment. One of his most memorable experiences as a student was working with a high-tech air spade to remove the dirt around tree roots to observe how the roots interact with nearby concrete. His advice for students is, “Getting out there in the field is something a lot of students in TPSS can get excited about. If you want to get your hands dirty, it’s a great department to get in.”
After graduating, Myles plans to continue his research in improving program mechanisms and developing better measures to protect the world’s heritage trees. He hopes to one day become a professor so he can continue researching and sharing his knowledge in heritage trees and urban forestry.
Read Myles’ spotlight.