NY Times Covers Harvard U's Transition to Organic Fertilizers

The New York Times has published an article on Harvard University's (MA) transition to using organic fertilizers on campus. The institution, which aims to be fully organic on the 80 acres that it maintains within the next two years, has begun using compost to fertilize its grass, landscaping, and orchard in test plots across campus. Harvard found that the test plots are able to absorb and hold water, which has resulted in a 30 percent irrigation reduction. In addition, the campus is able to compost grass clippings, pruned branches, leaves, and other materials that were previously trucked off campus for $35,000 per year. Furthermore, Harvard is saving $10,000 per year by not having to buy fertilizers. The NYT article also gives basic instructions on how to begin using organic fertilizers.

Luther College to Restore 130 Acres of Native Habitat

Luther College (IA) has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service to lease 130 acres into the Emergency Watershed Protection Program–Floodplain Easements. By entering the EWP-FPE program, Luther has agreed to permanently lease the 130 acres to the NRCS, promising to restore the native habitat of the bottomland and never develop or utilize the ground for cropland. Restoration of EWP-FPE sites includes seeding native plants, plugging drainage ditches, breaking and blocking tile lines, breaking diversions, and breaching existing flood control levees. Shallow water excavation work will also be done to enhance surface water environments and improve habitats for wetland-dependent wildlife species.

Middlebury College Launches 'No-Mow' Project

The Chronicle of Higher Education has posted a video on its Buildings & Grounds blog about a recent initiative at Middlebury College (VT) to reduce the number of times the College mows its lawn per year. The "No-Mow" project has lessened the amount of lawn Middlebury staff mow by 20 acres and has saved approximately 670 gallons of fuel. The post also mentions Cape Cod Community College (MA) which has begun a similar program.

U Idaho Partners to Restore Campus Creek

The University of Idaho and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, have signed a project partnership agreement to move forward with a Paradise Creek Ecosystem Restoration project. Design work will include new channel construction and development of access pathways for a portion of the creek that runs through the campus. Restoration aims to improve in-stream habitat, rebuild a continuous habitat corridor, and improve wildlife habitat along the identified sections of Paradise Creek. This work will provide future research opportunities and student learning experiences in bioremediation strategies for storm water run-off, planning, bioregional planning, landscape architecture, and long-term study of impacts and riparian habitats.

Central Piedmont CC Campuses Certified as Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation has certified all six Central Piedmont Community College (NC) campuses as Certified Wildlife Habitat sites. NWF officials believe that accomplishment makes CPCC the first multi-campus community college in the country to certify the grounds of all its campus locations. To become a Certified Wildlife Habitat, spaces must include four essential elements: food, water, cover and places to raise young. Over the past two years, the CPCC community has collaborated to reach this goal on all six campuses; CPCC’s Harper Campus, became the sixth and final campus to receive certification in March 2009. In addition, CPCC’s Presidential Cabinet awarded its Center for Sustainability six $2,000 innovation grants to help each campus create and maintain its own unique wildlife habitat.

Wheaton College Plants Apple Orchard

Wheaton College (MA) has planted an apple orchard on its campus. The Murphy Apple Orchard features 60 trees and will be maintained by two student interns throughout the summer and three student employees during the academic year. The orchard's steering committee hopes to expand the orchard and create a produce exchange with local colleges in the future.

Doane College Crete Campus Certified as Wildlife Habitat

Doane College's (NE) Crete campus has been certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. The designation recognizes the 300-acre campus for creating wildlife havens. Doane's student Wildlife and Conservation Organization chapter completed the application for the program, demonstrating the campus' food sources for wildlife, such as native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries and nectar; water sources like ponds and streams; wildlife cover, including thickets and birdhouses; places for wildlife to raise young, such as dense shrubs and vegetation; and sustainable gardening, including the use of mulch and compost. The certification program recognizes individuals and groups for creating landscapes that restore ecological balance and invite wild plants and animals to share the space.

Tufts U Pilots Composting Program

Tufts University (MA) has begun a month-long program aimed at educating students on composting. The program provides a volunteer at the campus' composting bin over lunch-time hours to educate customers about what can and cannot be composted. Approximately one half ton of food has been composted each day as part of the program. The decision on whether to continue to program will be based on the level of student interest observed throughout the program.

Waubonsee CC Earns Environmental Award

Waubonsee Community College (IL) has received an Outstanding Project Award from Trees Forever, a nonprofit organization dedicated to tree planting, prairie restoration, and watershed management. As part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Trees Forever, the organization chose 20 outstanding environmental projects to honor. Waubonsee was honored for the wetland restoration efforts it has undertaken at its Sugar Grove Campus.

Bronx CC Plants 94 Trees

Bronx Community College (NY) has planted 94 trees on its campus as part of a larger New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) program known as Greening the Bronx. NYSERDA, on behalf of New York City, is administering the $10 million Urban Reforestation project over ten years as part of a large-scale tree planting program and evaluation.

Maharishi U Mgmt Restores Native Prairie on Campus

Maharishi University of Management (IA) has begun a prairie restoration project on campus. Site preparation has already begun on the 15 acre prairie, and planting will begin in the fall of 2010. Once the prairie is complete, it will absorb rainwater, decreasing the threat of flooding during storms, and the only care it will require will be an annual controlled burn.

U Idaho Adopts Natural Landscaping Approach

The University of Idaho Facilities Services department has classified 84 acres of campus as naturalized or semi-naturalized. 57.9 acres of turf and trees have been classified as naturalized, meaning they receive no irrigation and no landscape maintenance except seasonal fringe mowing, some required noxious weed control, and removal of dead plant materials as needed. An additional 26.1 acres have been classified as semi-naturalized turf and tree areas, meaning they require no irrigation or only automatic irrigation, seasonal mowing once or twice each year to assist in controlling noxious and pest weeds, and the removal of dead plant materials as needed. The classification will help the University save water, gasoline, and oil that was previously needed for maintenance upkeep.

Meredith College Installs Recycled Turf

Meredith College (NC) has installed field turf made of recycled rubber in its track and field complex. The turf is made up of more than 40,000 tires.

SUNY Fredonia Uses Eco-Friendly Ice Melt Product

The State University of New York at Fredonia has begun using an environmentally-friendly ice melt product on campus. The new product, Ice B'Gone, is a combination of chloride salts and agriculture-based ingredients and is biodegradable.

29 U.S. Colleges Named 'Tree Campus USA'

Twenty-nine schools from across the United States have earned Tree Campus USA status from the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation for their dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship. The 29 schools recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation make up the initial Tree Campus USA class. Tree Campus USA is a new national program launched by the Arbor Day Foundation and aims to honor colleges and universities that engage in best tree-care and sustainability practices. To receive Tree Campus USA recognition, schools are required to meet five core standards of tree care and community engagement. Those standards are: establishing 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.

U Delaware Creates Sustainable Landscapes Website

The University of Delaware Botanic Gardens has launched a new website on sustainable landscapes. The new site explains why sustainable landscaping is beneficial and is divided into five categories: soils, hydrology, vegetation, human wellness, and materials. The website is based on the document, "Sustainable Landscape Practices," which was created by the UD Botanic Gardens Advisory Board's Green Initiatives subcommittee.

Arbor Day Foundation Announced 'Tree Campus USA' Program

The Arbor Day Foundation has announced the creation of the Tree Campus USA program, which will recognize college campuses that are committed to planting, maintaining, and celebrating trees. As part of the kick off, the Foundation will hold kick off tree-planting events at 9 campuses this fall. The aim of the program is to honor college campuses for promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship. Colleges and universities will be required to meet five core standards of tree care and community engagement in order to receive Tree Campus USA Status. Those standards are establishing a campus tree advisory committee; evidence of a campus tree-care plan; verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body. The tree planting events will be held at: Northern Kentucky University, University of Michigan, University of Texas, Arizona State University, Oregon State University, University of Nebraska, Virginia Tech, University of California, San Diego, and Jackson State University (MS).

SUNY ESF Completes Several Green Initiatives

The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry has surfaced the bridge entrance to the F. Franklin Moon Library with Flexi-Pave, a material that contains a 50 percent ratio of stone and recycled tire mixed with a urethane binder. Flexi-Pave is porous so rain and melting snow flow through to the ground instead of producing puddles or runoff. SUNY ESF has also installed two new bicycle storage racks at two halls on campus and has installed a bioretention basin to divert rooftop rainwater.

U Denver Commits to Planting 100 Trees on Campus

The University of Denver (CO) has announced the Daniels Centennial Trees project which aims to plant 100 different trees across campus by April 2009. The college is soliciting donations to cover the cost of the trees and to endow a Daniels Centennial Scholarship. The project grew out of a desire to celebrate the college’s history, create a fund to help students in the future and to support the Denver Mayor's Tree by Tree initiative.

U Portland Renovates Outdoor Plaza With Recycled Materials

The University of Portland (OR) has completed a 2,500 square foot plaza renovation using recycled materials. The grounds of the plaza were resurfaced with rubber bricks made from 100 percent recycled tires, and picnic tables made from recycled milk jugs were purchased for the newly renovated space.

U Hawai'i at Manoa Installs Pervious Concrete

The University of Hawai'I at Manoa has used pervious concrete to pave some of the walkways and areas around two student housing buildings. The pervious concrete will allow water to seep through to the underlying ground, reducing storm-water runoff and recharging groundwater supplies.

U Virginia Receives Award for Green Stormwater Plan

The University of Virginia has received a landscape architecture merit award from the Society for College and University Planning for its Meadow Creek Regional Stormwater Management Master Plan. The plan calls for stormwater ponds to capture sediment before it enters the stream, opening up sections of the stream to daylight and allowing water to be absorbed and filtered by plants and soil before running off to the stream. The comprehensive plan is believed to be more effective and efficient than the alternative of creating individual stormwater management plans for each construction site.

Appalachian State U Partners with Community to Restore Creek

Appalachian State University (NC) recently partnered with the city community to restore a 150 foot section of Boone Creek, a creek that runs through campus and parts of the downtown. The restoration group plans to filter storm water runoff, stabilize the banks, and incorporate native plants and shrubs that will shade the creek and provide better habitat for wildlife. The project is the result of an idea from a 2004 project management class taught by an Assistant Professor in ASU's Department of Geography and Planning.

Bowdoin to Use Organic Lawn Treatments, Hold Green Commencement

Bowdoin College (ME) recently announced that, this spring, it will start using organic lawn care products on parts of the campus that sit above the town aquifer. Organic fertilizer, liquid corn gluten, compost tea, and BT, an organic bacterium to fight insects, are examples of what will be used. In related news, Bowdoin has taken several steps to help make this year's graduation more environmentally friendly: biodegradable cups, bowls, plates, and utensils for all outdoor meals; recycle bins will be placed in outdoor areas, electricity for the weekend will be offset using Renewable Energy Credits from Maine low-impact hydro and wind power; and all programs will be printed on 100% recycled paper.

U New Hampshire Students Install Green Landscaping

University of New Hampshire students recently completed their horticulture technology class project to install green landscaping around a university building. The 11 students in the class chose perennial plants that would be hardy in New Hampshire and low-maintenance throughout the year. They spent one month preparing the site by removing overgrown plants and testing and preparing the soil with compost obtained from UNH dining halls. The students were also expected to manage a staff of volunteers, work with vendors, and solicit donations from nearby nurseries.

UC Berkeley Receives Undeveloped Land Donation

The University of California, Berkeley recently received an anonymous donation of the Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, a 3,260-acre property east of San Jose. The property is one of California's most diverse ecosystems, is embedded within 180,000 acres of permanently protected wild lands and open space in the Mount Hamilton Range, and is protected by a conservation easement held by the Nature Conservancy. The new reserve will support research to discover why oak trees are failing to thrive or regenerate. Additionally, UC Berkeley plans to design an ecologically sustainable field station on the site which will include dormitories, classrooms, laboratories, and offices with solar photovoltaic modules, passive solar systems, and sustainable water management systems designed by UC Berkeley environmental design and engineering faculty and students.