AASHE Announces Tree Campus USA Planting Event Winners
In partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, AASHE has announced the campuses chosen for Tree Campus USA planting events this spring. One hundred trees will be planted as part of a service learning project or Arbor Day celebration at Colorado State University; University of Colorado Boulder; University of Illinois, Chicago; Virginia Commonwealth University; Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY); and Purdue University (IN). In related news, several campuses have achieved Tree Campus USA designations recently for meeting the required five core standards for sustainable campus forestry which include the creation of a tree advisory committee and dedicated annual expenditures for a campus tree program. The institutions include Indiana State University, Duke University (NC) and Colorado State University, which received the distinction along with a Tree Campus USA planting event.
Rice U Named Tree Campus USA
Rice University (TX) has emerged after a rough year of drought, pathogens and insects with a Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. The university is being recognized for sustainable watering efforts during last year's drought and for its careful monitoring of the health of its trees. The program honors colleges and universities that use sustainable practices and engage students in tree planting and conservation initiatives.
Washington U St. Louis Students Spearhead Green Landscaping
Two Washington University St. Louis (MO) students have been awarded $5,000 to convert grassy campus areas to bio-swales, expand the student-run organic garden and enlist a small flock of sheep to maintain selected turf areas on campus. Their sustainable landscaping proposal won first prize in the university's Olin Sustainability Case Competition.
Utah State U to 'Green' Landscaping with Carbon Offset Fund
Faculty and staff at Utah State University now have the opportunity to contribute to the university's Carbon Offset Travel Fund to help mitigate the impact of their university-related travel. The funds collected will be used to help make campus landscaping operations more sustainable.
Florida Atlantic U Opens Campus Community Garden
Florida Atlantic University's Mission Green campaign has initiated a new organic campus community garden. Eight beds are available for use to students, faculty and staff, and the university plans to invite local farmers to teach the fundamental basics of gardening. Mission Green also plans to provide food to a local soup kitchen.
U Texas Arlington Recognized for Sustainable Land Practices
The University of Texas at Arlington is the first higher education institution to be certified by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES). The voluntary, national rating system and set of performance benchmarks for sustainable landscapes recognized the university for its Green at College Park, which features an open lawn, pedestrian promenade, shade arbor, native plants in rain gardens and a water detention system. The Green is one of three projects to receive recognition from among 150 pilot projects seeking certification since summer 2010.
Coastal Carolina U Debuts Campus Garden
Funded by the Jackson Center for Ethics and Values, Coastal Carolina University (SC) has debuted a campus garden for students and faculty to learn the fundamentals of gardening including weeding, composting and fertilizing. The university is also looking into an on-campus farmers market in the future.
Harvard U Yard Services Collects Leaves for Mulch
Harvard University's (MA) Landscape Services and Facilities Maintenance Operations have collected fallen leaves across campus as part of their organic landscaping initiative. The collected leaves will be transported to the university-owned Arnold Arboretum in Boston, where they will be made into nutrient-rich mulch. Landscape Services will place the resulting mulch, sent back from the arboretum, across the university's grounds.
Texas State U San Marcos Named Tree Campus USA
The campus community at Texas State University-San Marcos recently celebrated the university's designation as a Tree Campus USA school by planting 71 trees on campus. The Arbor Day Foundation issues the Tree Campus USA designation to campuses that meet five requirements including convening a tree advisory committee, creating a tree care plan, implementing a tree program, holding an Arbor Day observance and offering a service learning project.
DePauw U Creates Campus Farm for Students, Community
DePauw University (IL) students, faculty and staff are in the midst of creating a campus farm for students to learn more about food, the environment and related socioeconomic issues. Sodexo, a main partner on the project, plans to use much of the produce in the university’s dining halls to increase the amount of local and sustainable food available to students. Inspired by President Obama’s Food Security Initiative, the university's Office of Spiritual Life aims to use the farm to reduce hunger in the area as well as teach the community how to grow and preserve their own food.
U Chicago Earns National Honors for Green Grounds Management
The University of Chicago (IL) has received a 2011 Green Star Grand Award from the Professional Grounds Management Society. The Green Star Awards program brings national recognition to grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, including demonstrated sustainable practices and methods.
Western Carolina U Enlists Goats for Weed Eradication
Western Carolina University recently welcomed goats to its campus as an environmentally friendly weed-eradication strategy. The goats took a few weeks to clear kudzu at the site of an old campus landfill, a task that would have taken the university's grounds crew a few months to accomplish. The university will enlist the goats again in the spring.
U Montana Converts Concrete Space into Organic Garden
The University of Montana's Dining Services has converted a concrete space behind the cafeteria into a low-waste and local organic garden. Heirloom tomatoes and squash, native hazelnuts and serviceberries from the garden are used in the university's dining halls and catering program. Students are also using the garden to learn about sustainable food production.
U Pennsylvania Unveils New 24-Acre Park
The University of Pennsylvania has opened Penn Park, 24 acres of athletic fields, open recreational space and pedestrian connections. Replacing a surface parking lot previously owned by the U.S. Postal Service, the park has increased the university's green space by 20 percent and created a new pedestrian gateway. Sustainable features of the park include the planting of more than 500 native trees, self-irrigating athletic fields, recycled and repurposed materials, and an energy-efficient lighting system.
Antioch College Creates College Farm
Antioch College (OH) has announced the creation of a college farm as part of its first major sustainability project. The farm will provide opportunities for students to grow produce and learn sustainability practices. The college hopes to integrate the farm into campus facilities, curriculum and the community.
U Wisconsin Madison Fights Invasive Species with Goats
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has enlisted a herd of goats to clear an overgrown slope behind its School of Human Ecology building, which is undergoing a renovation and expansion. The goats are clearing invasive species like black locust, honeysuckle and buckthorn, which will be replaced with terraces of native canopy trees and a mix of native wildflowers and grasses.
SUNY Cortland Creates 'No Mow' Zone
State University of New York at Cortland has initiated a “no mow” zone in order to reduce fuel emissions and encourage natural habitats. A decline in fuel and equipment usage will reduce carbon dioxide emissions while saving money. The Physical Plant department expects to gain at least 10 labor hours each week, helping the university's ongoing effort to maximize its resources. Birds, butterflies and other animals will find food and habitats while native wildflowers will claim spots to bloom.
Macalester College Raises Chickens
Macalester College’s (MN) Urban Land and Community Health program has begun raising chickens on campus. Students, faculty, staff and community members will be provided with an ongoing hands-on education and will have an opportunity to learn how to care for chickens as part of a more sustainable urban landscape. A group of students worked with Amish furniture makers to design and construct the coop. The eggs will be distributed among the caretakers.
U Chicago Transforms Dormant Campus Space into Garden
Three University of Chicago (IL) departments have announced a collaboration to convert a dormant campus space into an "Avant Garden." University staff and interns volunteered to transform a large empty lot into a common space for interaction, production and innovation. Herbs and vegetables will be harvested in the space and the plants were strategically placed in locations that emphasize their aesthetic qualities.
Indiana U Creates Pilot Campus Community Garden
Indiana University Bloomington has created a 900-square-foot community garden on campus. The campus garden initiative aims to foster environmental and social sustainability by creating interactive, edible gardening spaces. By modeling different ways to produce food in a campus setting, the garden will serve as a pilot for future gardening projects. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to engage in the process of growing food.
Southern Connecticut State U 'Plants it Forward'
Southern Connecticut State University has announced its Sustainable Southern-Plant it Forward Initiative. The urban farm project will expand its existing campus organic garden to include orchards and a vineyard, along with a new greenhouse, outdoor classroom and apiary. The orchard portion of the project will focus on growing more fruits in less space as the percentage of people living in urban environments is expected to grow locally and globally. Students from various courses and programs will have access to the orchard trees, garden and eventually the greenhouse for hands-on experience. The initiative will also include reaching out to the local community to teach, support and encourage local residents to grow their own food in their backyards.
Alfred State College Announces Sustainable Agriculture Center
Alfred State College (NY) has converted 225 acres of farmland adjacent to the campus to certified organic hay and pasture production for its Center for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture. An effort to introduce organic farming to the agriculture program, the center acquired 300 acres of land to be used for crops, promoting sustainable and innovative agricultural techniques. The project received a $4.9 million grant from New York State and additional funding from local companies and college alumni.
Miami Dade College Launches Seed-to-Table Organic Garden
Miami Dade College’s (FL) Miami Culinary Institute and Natural Greenscape have launched a Seed-to-Table organic garden. The garden was designed to inspire a relationship between the culinary students and the source of the ingredients, while creating a fresh backyard pantry for the institute’s instructional kitchens and on-site restaurant. The institution is also committed to recycling waste and appropriate refuse into compost that will be returned to the garden.
Penn State U Harrisburg Creates Sustainable Garden
Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg’s Conservation Committee has developed and planted a garden that incorporates recycled materials into its design. Shipping pallets and scrap lumber were used to construct compost bins and benches, extra slate floor tiles were used as stepping stones, and tree branches were used to create a trellis. The garden is maintained by volunteers and is open to all students, faculty and staff.
Roosevelt U Begins Sustainable Landscape Project
Roosevelt University (IL) has launched a sustainable landscape project to remove invasive plant species. The university conducted a controlled burn as a way of removing invasive plants while retaining nutrients in the soil. Native flowerbeds have been planted and nearly 14 acres of turf grass also has been removed and composted in order to install slit seeding native grass species. The project will serve to supplement education and lower landscape maintenance costs.
U Texas San Antonio Installs Eco-Friendly Turf
The University of Texas San Antonio has begun installing synthetic grass turf made of recycled tires on its recreational fields to conserve water and maintenance costs. The university expects to save approximately 4.7 million gallons of water per year.
U Louisville Expands Organic Garden
The University of Louisville (KY) has announced that its Garden Commons, a 6,000-square-foot organic garden on campus, will undergo a major expansion. Plans include erecting a greenhouse, planting garden beds and setting up compost bins and rain barrels. Volunteers will also stain benches, spread mulch and lay paving stones that allow water to drain through to the soil to form the foundation of a new outdoor classroom. Approximately $26,000 in private money is funding the expansion.
U Colorado Boulder Phases Out Herbicide Use with Compost Tea
The University of Colorado at Boulder has announced plans to phase out the use of herbicides on campus fields. The university will treat the grounds with a “compost tea,” a liquid that can be used as both a fertilizer and to prevent plant diseases. The first phase will reduce the use of herbicides by 45 percent in 2011. By the end of 2012, all turf areas will no longer receive synthetic herbicide applications. The final phase includes eliminating the use of synthetic pesticides after the 2016 growing season.
Aquinas College Plants Community Garden
Aquinas College (MI) has created a community garden on campus. The garden was recently planted with a variety of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flower seeds. Volunteers will look after the new plot and no synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides will be used.
Centenary College Plants 200 Blue Spruce Saplings
Centenary College (NJ) has planted 200 blue spruce saplings that they received from Verizon Wireless. The college was one of five institutions that received the donation as a result of the college’s ongoing initiatives related to Earth Day and sustainability. The college will donate a portion of the saplings to the community. The tree planting initiative is part of the Verizon Wireless Tree Donation Program, which was established with the goal of planting 100,000 trees across the U.S. and 14 other countries by the end of the year.
Luther College Constructs Hoop House
Luther College (IA) has constructed a hoop house on the grounds of its college gardens to extend the growing season and serve as a teaching tool about seasonal extension of garden operations. Funded by a donation from the college's director of facilities services, the hoop house was completed almost entirely using recycled or reclaimed materials.
Trevecca Nazarene U Raises Chickens to Supply Eggs to Campus
Trevecca Nazarene University (TN) has begun raising free-range chickens. The eggs produced will be sold to campus dining services. The university hopes to have a flock of 120 chickens by August 2011, capable of producing up to 500 eggs a week. The university will also partner with Vanderbilt University (TN), which operates a mobile pantry that delivers fresh, healthy, organic produce at reasonable prices to nearby neighborhoods. Remaining eggs will be offered for sale to local restaurants.
U California Berkeley Debuts Native Plant Nursery
Financed by students through the Green Initiative Fund, the University of California, Berkeley has launched a new native plant nursery. With the goal of restoring California ecology to more historical ecological functions, the starts in the nursery will be used to repopulate three designated natural areas alongside Strawberry Creek on campus. With the nursery, an adjoining demonstration garden-in-progress and student-taught classes on Strawberry Creek restoration, the university plans to educate students about restoration and recruit converts for labor-intensive projects.
Paul Quinn College Turns Football Stadium into Farm
Paul Quinn College (TX) recently planted the first seeds in a former football field that will now serve the college as a student-run, two-acre urban farm. After grocers told the college's president that they didn't want to invest in the underserved Dallas neighborhood where the college is located, he contacted the Sustainable Food Project at Yale University (CT) for a crash course on organic agriculture and educational programs that emphasize the importance of local, healthy food. Part of the harvest will be sold to the company that runs concessions at Cowboys Stadium and the other will be donated nonprofit groups that feed the hungry. By fall the college plans to create a farmers market on its outdoor recreational basketball courts and eventually open its own grocery store.
U Maryland Students Enlist Goats for Campus Weeding
Students at the University of Maryland have contracted goats to combat weeds in a proposed garden area near the School of Public Health. More than 30 goats grazed for three days, clearing the way for fruit and vegetable growing. Also aimed at bringing attention to the new garden, the $13,00 initiative was funded by an Office of Sustainability grant from mandatory student sustainability fees.
U Colorado at Boulder Named Tree Campus USA
The University of Colorado at Boulder has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA for its excellence in tree management, as well as student and community involvement. Senior Grounds Specialist Alan Nelson credits the stone construction, size and positioning of many campus buildings for helping to create microclimates conducive to a variety of trees that would not typically grow in Colorado. The Arbor Day Foundation issues the Tree Campus USA designation to campuses that meet five requirements including convening a tree advisory committee, creating a tree care plan, implementing a tree program, holding an Arbor Day observance and offering a service learning project.
U Denver Experiments with Environmentally Friendly Landscaping
In place of a recently razed science building, the University of Denver (CO) is experimenting with native plants that are well-adapted to the regional climate. Working with Facilities Management, the university architect and arborist will plant a variety of grasses to see which species require the least water while still holding up under foot traffic.
Ball State U Debuts Native Landscaping Online Interface
In partnership with JFNew, a company that provides ecological consulting and ecosystem restoration services, Ball State University (IN) has launched NativeBrowser™. The free, web-based tool allows the input of key site conditions to create a customized list of native plant species suitable for the specified growing conditions. The tool was developed as an online interface to the web application, NativeSpec™, an extensive database of native plants and seeds categorized according to their preferred habitat and ecological conditions and site factors. Students in the university's department of landscape architecture accepted a 2010 Student Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects for their leadership in developing NativeSpec™.
U Calif Santa Barbara Restores Newly-Designated Campus Open Space
The University of California, Santa Barbara has begun the cleanup and restoration of a 69-acre tract of campus land that has been permanently set aside as open space under a conservation easement agreement. The university's Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration is overseeing the cleanup of remnant pipes, fencing, cement and other items with the goal of enhancing wetlands along the western border of the property, where some original, less-disturbed soil and native plants remain.
U Georgia Enlists Sheep to Improve Waterway Access on Campus
The University of Georgia's Grounds Department has dispatched 30 sheep and two donkeys to improve access to a major waterway that runs through the campus. The grazing site is currently choked with privet, an invasive plant that forms a nearly impenetrable physical and visual barrier and displaces more diverse and controlled native species. The university chose sheep in particular because unlike cattle, sheep avoid the water's edge, leaving vulnerable embankments undisturbed. Unlike goats, they do not attempt to strip larger, desirable trees.
3 Universities Awarded Tree Campus USA Recognition
For their dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship, Emory University (GA) and Kent State University (OH) have received a 2010 Tree Campus USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation for the second and third year, respectively. Middlebury University (VT) has also received the recognition for the first time, meeting the five core standards of tree care and community engagement.
Roosevelt U Greens Schaumburg Campus Grounds
This spring, Roosevelt University (IL) will redesign the landscape of its Schaumburg campus. The university’s Green Campus Environmental Sustainability Initiative plans to convert 70 percent of the campus turf into native grasses and plants. They are also planning to resurface parking areas with a more permeable pavement.
Denison U, St. Charles CC Named Tree Campus USA Institutions
Denison University (OH) and St. Charles Community College (MO) have each been recognized as a 2010 Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for their dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. Both campuses are earning the status for the first time, having met five required core standards of tree care and community engagement. Those requirements include the establishment of a campus tree advisory committee; evidence of a campus tree-care plan; verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body. Denison University's 900-acre campus features a 550-acre Biological Reserve and St. Charles Community College is now home to more than 2,000 trees, 30 of which were planted last fall in a tree planting ceremony hosted by the college's Tree Advisory Committee.
Northern Arizona U Green Fund to Support Sustainable Landscaping
With the help of a $26,952 student Green Fund award, students at Northern Arizona University will conduct a pilot project to study sustainable landscape methods for campus lawns based on organic principles without the use of chemical herbicides. The grant will cover material, labor and student internships for the project and is expected to start this spring. Students at the university overwhelmingly voted to create the Green Fund last month, a $5 per semester fee.
Marylhurst U Uses Goats to Control Invasive Species
Initiated by the Marylhurst University (OR) Sustainability Action Committee, the university has started using goats to help control the spread of invasive species on campus. In an effort to get rid of unwanted vegetation without using chemicals, the two goats will graze on 68 acres of land. The university also hopes that the goats' presence will help encourage awareness toward sustainable initiatives.
U Iowa to Use Sugar Beet Juice as Eco-Friendly Deicer
Landscape crews at the University of Iowa will use a combination of salt and sugar beet juice to deice campus walkways this winter. With the environmentally friendly deicer, ProMelt, the university expects to use 30 percent less product this season to keep walkways clear and safe. During its trial year, the university will gauge its effectiveness against ice and snow, as well as note any reduced damage to vegetation and concrete corrosion.
Life U Campus Certified as Wildlife Habitat by NWF
The National Wildlife Foundation (NWF) has declared Life University's Marietta, Ga. campus a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Home to foxes, beavers, woodchucks, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, fish and several species of reptiles and amphibians, the campus contains the significant sources of wild food, water, shelter and places where wildlife can raise their young to qualify for the designation. NWF also recognized the university's conscientious planning, landscaping and sustainable gardening.
San Francisco State U Implements Low-Maintenance Landscaping
San Francisco State University's (CA) Campus Grounds is altering its landscaping plan to include alternative plantings that require less water and maintenance. The university allows grasses near the gym, humanities and science buildings to grow unfettered with once-a-week watering. Ground workers have added native plants like huckleberry, lupine, yarrow and willow in an effort to attract birds and pollinators. Also, pesticides, fertilizers and mowing have been eliminated in three areas of campus. The university plans to continue to experiment with ways to further reduce its water use and coordinate with science classes to quantify differences in biodiversity after letting the lawns grow.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland Builds Rain Garden
St. Mary’s College of Maryland has constructed a rain garden to capture stormwater runoff and filter out sediments and nutrients that would otherwise end up in the waterways. The low-maintenance garden features native species and requires seasonal deadheading and weeding. The project will be part of an environmental science course for elementary school kids.
Saginaw Valley State U Dedicates Native Planting Site
Saginaw Valley State University (MI) has dedicated a 40-acre native planting site on campus. The Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, which provided a $40,000 grant to support the new site, is composed of 10 area foundations that work to protect and preserve the region’s natural resources. The plants are low-maintenance and thrive without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The native habitat will also reduce erosion, water pollution and provide a natural habitat for wildlife.