Ever since joining the Biology faculty four years ago, Dr. Bryan Sales has been doing a lot of growing -- plants, mentorships, collaborations, and partnerships. One of his most noteworthy partnerships involves the local community. As manager of the UNCP Campus Garden and Apiary, Dr. Sales hosts garden activities that attract students, faculty, volunteers, and community members. The garden has been a marvelous source of healthy vegetables and herbs (e.g., cilantro, lettuce, kale, mint), all of which have been generously donated to the community. In recognition of the garden, as well as Dr. Sales' important impacts, the UNCP Office for Community & Civic Engagement just presented him with its 2023 Roger Godwin Community Partner of the Year award!
Dr. Sales is a research horticulturist and agronomist and an assistant professor in the Biology Department. His primary research focus is on the use of organic soil amendments to enhance the production of horticultural crops. A driving force behind the University’s fledgling agricultural science program, he has recruited numerous students to the program, while mentoring volunteers, undergraduate and graduate researchers, and classroom students in the nuances of organic farming and sustainable agriculture. He has paved the way for students like Tyler Locklear, Katina Oxendine, and Eric Schwarz to pursue their passions in agriculture. His students have investigated many topics, among which are aquaponics, hydroponic lettuce production, tomato cultivars, and soil amendments. His students routinely present their research at conferences, including the local RISE and PURC symposia.
Dr. Sales has been key to partnerships with the Robeson County Farm Bureau and other entities that have donated critical funding for sorely needed facilities and agricultural equipment, like the 70-feet long high tunnel (equipped for hydroponics) in the campus garden. His innovative approach to agricultural science was a focus of a PBS North Carolina video and the focus of a second PBS video about smarter agriculture at UNCP.
And thanks to Dr. Sales' leadership, the University now has a thriving Agricultural Science Club, notable for its annual plant sales. This year's lineup included hundreds of beautiful hanging baskets of petunias and other colorful flowering plants, plus a variety of vegetables and herbs.
Dr. Sales is the primary contact person for the agricultural science program, which offers a B.S. degree in Biology with an emphasis in Agriculture Science. Core courses include Biology, Zoology, Botany, Chemistry, Introduction to Animal Science, Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture, Soils and Hydrology, Plant Cropping and Weed Management, and Pest Management. Sales teaches several core and elective courses: Techniques in Horticulture, Tropical Horticulture, Sustainable Agriculture, Soils and Hydrology, Small Farming Systems, and Pest Management. When not teaching in the classroom, you can often find him working in the Campus Garden and Apiary.
Congratulations, Dr. Sales, on this outstanding achievement – the Roger Godwin Community Partner of the Year award!