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It's not easy being green! - Kermit T. Frog   Home Colleges & Universities 12 Steps toward Sustainability Grounds and Land Use

Campus Grounds and Land Use
The management of campus grounds is an opportunity for sustainable development on campus. A campus can help sustain the integrity of the local ecosystem through proper land management practices. A campus can use the strategies listed below to reduce costs by decreasing the need for maintenance and irrigation of a campus.
    The new LEED-silver Science Center at Eastern Connecticut State University has a waterway that wraps around the side of the building, filled with fish and lined with native plants.
  Organizational Assistance   Best Practices  
  • Redefine Campus Beauty
    Traditional definitions of what makes a beautiful campus need to be redefined in order to make way for a more sustainable lifestyle. Create a new culture of campus aesthetics. Water intensive plants and invasive species may be beautiful based on traditional conventions, but they are wasteful of water and have a high environmental impact. Preserve green spaces and existing native foliage where possible. When landscaping the campus, plant species that are indigenous to the area. These species promote the integrity of the local ecosystem and require little or no watering as they are adapted to local climate conditions. Make forests, fields, and local plants the highest forms of campus beauty.
  • Reduce Lawn Areas
    The maintenance of green lawns can be very expensive both in material and manpower costs. Green lawns require mowing, watering, and sometimes replanting. Lawn mowers unnecessarily put green house gas and particulate matter into the air during the summer when air quality is at its worst. Also, lawns often require large quantities of water, a scarce resource in many areas. Where it is possible; plant trees and gardens with indigenous species. These require less water and less maintenance. Forests and groves also act as more effective carbon sheds while requiring less care.
  • Protect Wetlands, Wildlife, and Watershed
    In order to create a more sustainable environment, your campus must be designed to protect wildlife, wetlands and the watersheds. A campus should not only avoid using agro-chemicals, such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, but ensure that buildings and walkways are responsibly constructed to protect watersheds.
  • Protect Trees
    Implement a tree protection ethic at your university. Make sure there are a sufficient number of trees on your campus to beautify it, sequester carbon, and provide shade during hot summer days. Local fauna can add to the beauty of the campus, and they can also use trees as homes.
  • Plant Native Species
    In gardens in and around campus buildings you should be sure to plant species native to the area. These species will require less chemical fertilizers and irrigation. Also, they do not interfere with the local ecosystem thus promoting and protecting biodiversity.
  • Allow Natural Walkways to Evolve
    Allowing natural walkways to evolve rather than paving sidewalks is a great way to save time and money. People will generally take the shortest path between two points rather than stick to predetermined routes, especially if they have to go more than few feet out of their way to use an existing sidewalk. Elaborate decorative sidewalks may be beautiful, but if they are not overlaying the direct routes between locations, higher traffic may soon be seen on dirt paths trodden by walkers. Paving the paths after they are already laid out by foot will minimize wasted materials and labor.
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