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Prairie Restoration at Florida & Orchard (In Progress)

Project History

Description

The University has worked to restore the 2.7-acre no-mow zone at the southwest corner of Florida Avenue and Orchard Street, as one of the campus’ first prairie plantings.  This restoration is designed to educate, beautify, and inspire. It will serve as a highly visible public symbol of our commitments to (1) the historic ecological legacy and the native species once found in this complex ecosystem and (2) campus-wide efforts toward sustainability and carbon neutral practices.

Background

Carbon sequestration is the process through which land management practices absorb and sink carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Sequestration activities can affect climate change by enhancing carbon storage in trees and soils, preserving existing tree and soil carbon, and by reducing emissions of CO2, methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Converting turf grass and other shallow-rooted plants to natural prairies or wooded areas can increase the amount of carbon capture. Landscaping with native plants also generally requires less maintenance than that of non-native plants. 

Project Timeline To Date:

  • 2008: Area is converted from regular turf lawn grass to ‘no mow zone.’
  • May 2010: Native prairie species are planted in former ‘no mow zone.’
  • July 2010: 5-year stewardship plan developed, and MOA is signed by University and private donor.
  • October 30, 2010: University hosts Prairie Charette to seek community input.
  • November 2010-March 2011: Tony Endress and James Urban then compiled designs and created a website where participants could comment and vote on their favored design. 
  • April 2011: James Urban completed the final landscape design for new pathways and flower patches in the prairie
  • September 2011: Design approved by Architecture Review Committee.
  • October 2011: Designed pathways and flower patches begun to be implemented. 
  • Ongoing: upkeep by Red Bison (student organization) volunteers.

Conclusion

The prairie is in place, but needs frequent upkeep in order to become fully established.  Volunteers from the student organization Red Bison weed and maintain the prairie. Volunteers also take pictures of prairie monthly to help develop a photo history of prairie’s ecological succession. 

Prairie at Florida Avenue and Orchard Street

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    John Marlin

    Team Members:

    • James Ellis
    • Tony Endress
    • James Urban

Themes

Project Location(s)

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