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Colorado Horticulture Research & Education Foundation

The Colorado Horticulture Research & Education Foundation (CHREF) plays a lead role in developing new leaders and applied science for the nursery and greenhouse industry. CHREF has contributed more than $217,500 to research and more than $230,400 to scholarships since the mid 80's.

Through generous contributions and participation in the events listed below, the CHREF endowment continues to grow. Therefore, we encourage you to support CHREF so it can continue its mission to develop new talent and technology that will keep the industry vibrant and successful.

If you are interested in volunteering for the Foundation, please contact CNGA at 303.758.6672 or

Research - Research is carried out by students and faculty at Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Front Range Community College in Westminster. Research projects for 2017 include:
  • Woody Plant Evaluations for the High Plains & Rocky Mountain Region
  • A Multi-site Woody Plant Evaluation
  • Greenhouse Production & Protocl Research
  • Plant Select® Stock Plant Management Protocol

Scholarships - Each year CHREF awards several scholarships to aspiring college students based on an evaluation of their industry experience, sincerity and commitment to a career in horticulture, knowledge and financial need. Scholarship winners are recognized at CNGA's annual Industry Celebration Happy Hour and receive a complimentary membership to CNGA for one year. Through the Arbor Valley Scholarship, the Larry Watson Scholarship, Phil Finnel Scholarship and the Cary Hall Scholarship, CHREF awarded a total of $15,500*in 2017 to six students.

*Funds for Front Range Community College students have been budgeted. Interviews will be held in April 2017.

Fundraisers - Two annual events provide great fellowship opportunities for members while also providing critical fundraising opportunities - the annual Golf Tournament and the live and silent auctions held at the Industry Celebration in conjunction with ProGreen EXPO.

CHREF Fundraiser Golf Tournament
The annual golf tournament provides a great day of fun, relaxation and social networking while raising funds to support CHREF. By participating in and sponsoring this event you are making an investment in your company and your industry, today and into the future. Your involvement in the Golf Tournament increases the CHREF funds, which in turn helps to continue the commitment CHREF makes to both scholarships and research in Colorado. The tournament will be held on Monday, September 18, 2017 at Arrowhead Golf Club.

CHREF Golf Committee Mike Bone, CGG, Denver Botanic Gardens; Dave Montague, Gard'N-Wise; Bill Fukutome, DWF-Growers Supply; Dan Gerace, Welby Gardens; and Lisa Thornton, Gard'N-Wise

Industry Celebration and Auction
This marquee event raises money for CHREF through silent and live auctions, featuring the prestigious gnome, Gus, who commands a premium bid for the honor of giving him a home for a year. This annual event is held in conjunction with ProGreen EXPO. Gus has a great story, click here for his complete history!

To donate to the Foundation, contact CNGA at 303.758.6672, or mail a check to the Colorado Horticulture Research & Education Foundation at, 959 South Kipling Pkwy; Suite 200, Lakewood, CO 80226

CHREF Board of Directors
President - Matt Edmundson, Arbor Valley Nursery
Vice President - Mike Kintgen, Denver Botanic Gardens
Secretary/Treasurer - Steve Echter, Echter's Nursery & Garden Center

Gary Dean, Wadsworth Controls
Gary Epstein, CCNP, Fort Collins Wholesale
Jack Fetig, Fossil Creek Nursery
Gene Pielin, Gulley Greenhouse
Dr. Jim Klett, Ph.D., Ex-officio Director, CSU Dept. of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture
Allison Gault, MBA, CAE Executive Director, Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association