Friday, November 21, 2008

Native Plant and Landscaping Update

There are a bunch of efforts on campus to 1) make the physical campus more ecologically sound and 2) to use the physical campus as a teaching/learning lab about ecology and the value of native plant habitat. A chair of this working group, I am trying to gather information about all these efforts. I hope Andrew and others will chime in!

Here are a couple of efforts I am dealing with:
1) Make GMU a "Tree Campus USA," a designation granted by the Arbor Day Foundation. The point of the designation is to encourage a comprehensive management plan for trees that is ecologically sound (which GMU does not have) and to formalize a committment to environmental education regarding trees/native habitat. The site is very cool: Virginia Tech is already has this designation.

2) Writing a memorandum to the University regarding the value of native habitat and trees on campus for teaching, ecosystem services, and reducing the costs of facilities management. Have concerned faculty sign it.

3) The University is getting a new greenhouse behind SUB II in the next few months! I'd like to develop teaching garden, with an emphasis on plant-insect interactions, around the walkways leading to this building. The plant-insect garden by the US Natural History Museum is my ideal.