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Projects Updates for place: Orchard Downs

  1. Land & Water iCAP Team December 2023 Meeting

    The Land & Water iCAP team met on Teams from 1-2 PM on Friday, December 1st. The team discussed the meadow at Orchard Downs, revising the iCAP Land & Water objectives, and the development of an IPM plan for non-F&S areas. Meeting minutes are attached.

  2. Land & Water iCAP Team November 2023 Meeting

    The Land & Water iCAP team met on Teams from 1-2 PM on Friday, November 3rd. The team discussed permeable pavers at State Farm Center, the meadow at Orchard Downs, cover crops on the South Farm, and the iCAP 2025 rewrite of the Land & Water chapter. Meeting minutes are attached.

  3. Project Update - Meadow at Orchard Downs

    Associated Project(s): 


    This project is in progress, with the primary challenge being the insufficient number of participants to maintain the meadow. One proposed solution under consideration is to engage students through fieldwork.

    There is a prospect for collaboration between the iCAP Education and iCAP Land and Water teams to develop a course that would involve students in the maintenance of the meadow.

  4. Land & Water iCAP Team October 2023 Meeting

    The Land & Water iCAP team met on Teams from 1-2 PM on Friday, October 6th. The team reviewed the iCAP Land & Water objectives, discussed area/projects of focus for the year, and brainstormed next steps in relation to projects that are underway. Meeting minutes are attached.

  5. Herbicide Application @ Orchard Downs Update

    Associated Project(s): 

    From: Jaquet, Izabelle Sarah
    Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2021 9:53 AM
    To: Lewis, Brent C; White, Morgan
    Cc: Ward, Michael Patrick; Brunk, Lauren
    Subject: FTGU Herbicide Update

    Hello All,

    I sent an email regarding From The Ground Up's Orchard Down Plot restoration in May and don't believe I received explicit approval for the plan, so I did not initiate further action. Now that the fall semester is upon us, I would like to ask if it's still possible to apply herbicide to the whole plot?

    Thank you so much,
    Izabelle Jaquet (she/her)
    Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science & Agriculture and Consumer Economics
    University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign| December 2022

  6. Archived Info - Previous Project Description

    Associated Project(s): 

    Community gardens built on the farmlands at Orchard Downs are available to use for growing their own food. They are managed by volunteers who assign and take payment for plots for the Family Housing Council. Housing pays for the water via funds that are collected, and they manage the plowing, clean-up, and maintenance of the garden area. Gardeners range from University administrators and students to community members. This program has been active since at least the 1990s.

  7. iCAP Portal Updates

    From: Maloto, Avery (FandS) <fandsamaloto2 at>
    Sent: Monday, July 19, 2021 1:15 PM
    To: Johnson, Bryan Lloyd <blj at>
    Cc: White, Morgan <mbwhite at>
    Subject: [Follow-Up] iCAP Portal Update(s)


    Hi Bryan! 


    I would like to offer a gentle reminder for the iCAP Portal content updates. We would appreciate receiving this information as soon as possible as it allows us to keep the public updated with university & community initiatives.  


    Right now, I am missing updates for the following project(s): 

    • Food Purchases from Local Sources
    • Orchard Downs Community Gardens
    • SDRP Lighting 


    Please let me know if there is any information or assistance that I can provide to complete these! 




  8. SSC Semesterly Report June 2021: Meadow at Orchard Downs Low Mow Zone

    As a part of the terms of the funding agreement for Meadow at Orchard Downs Low Mow Zones, the Student Sustainability Committee released a semesterly report with key information about the project on June 14, 2021. The report can be viewed below.

  9. Herbicide plans

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hello Brent and Morgan,

    I hope this email finds you both well. I recently discussed with Michael Ward, an NRES professor on campus, concerning the application of herbicide on the Orchard Downs plot. We believe the best plan of action is to apply herbicide to the entire plot as soon as possible, then again later in the fall. The goal is to have crop sciences/arboretum apply the herbicide on the plot. If you would like to discuss this further over zoom, let me know! 

    The semester-end is nearing, and I want to add that I will be on campus for most of the summer, so I will be able to work on the plot as we move forward. 

    Thank you, 


  10. Progress meeting with F&S

    Associated Project(s): 

    Izabelle met with Morgan and Brent at F&S today. 

    • She shared that they met with Professor Mike Ward from NRES and get some advice, including herbiciding the full area, and possibly splitting the area in two for a pathway through the site for walkers.  To herbicide the full area, they are going to talk with Professor Ward a bit more and send us a plan for the herbiciding process.  Morgan said we will need a week to approve the plan, to make sure we have the reporting requirements handled correctly. 
    • They will also talk with Housing about their plans, to communicate with Orchard Downs residents appropriately. 
    • Red Bison has agreed to let them use the shed in the Arboretum and share tools.


  11. Progress meeting

    Associated Project(s): 

    Izabelle, Morgan, and Brent met to discuss progress on the Meadow at Orchard Downs. Izabelle is going to select the preferred tools to purchase, and meet with Morgan on site on Sunday, 3/14/21, to put stakes around the outline of the first section to work on. Brent is going to get a work order set up to be able to place orders.

  12. Meeting with project leader and F&S

    Associated Project(s): 

    Izabelle Jaquet met with Morgan White and Brent Lewis at F&S to talk about the steps forward for the meadow at Orchard Downs project.  Izabelle is the project leader, in the RSO, From the Ground Up, which meets weekly on Sundays.  She had previously talked with Jamie Ellis (from INHS) and Eric Green (the RSO's advisor), after taking over the project when Nicole Gamble left campus.

    We shared related files, including the attached file Brent had from a discussion with Housing back in 2019. We also discussed possible opportunities for collaboration, with groups like Red Bison and the Master Naturalists. There is also a possiblity that From the Ground Up may request a scope change to focus on a smaller section of the low-mow zone and a schedule extension due to the difficulty with coordianting events during the pandemic.

    Izabelle is going to work with her group to finalize their list of proposed plants, reach out to potential collaborative partners, and identify who should be included in a follow up call with F&S and INHS in late February. 

    Attached Files: 
  13. background information from Housing

    Associated Project(s): 

    Housing provided the following information: "The cost is generally considered to be manageable but not neutral- the Family Housing Council contributes renter fees towards the cost of water usage but they do not pay the cost of plowing, clean-up, or general maintenance. That is absorbed into the yearly work of maintaining the land in that area. In regards to education, we (Family and Graduate Housing and Housing Facilities) built a nice shed/work space that allows for gardening sessions tips and discussions to happen. A majority of our gardeners are International and many of them have gardened in extreme weather and land situations that are far more challenging than the rich soil here in Central Illinois.  So oftentimes we allow our International residents to share how they have developed irrigation systems or they discuss how to use various material to create trellis like structures. We have through a collaborative in housing worked with Housing Dining to allow gardeners access to coffee grinds that can be mixed into the soil. In regards to liability, this is a garden at your own risk program. So far we have assisted residents who lost everything in some of our flooding incidents in the past with new seeds or tools but not much in the way of accepting liability for flooding, stealing, or damaging events."

  14. Campus community Garden Fostering Sustainable Food

    The Campus Community Garden (CCG) will be designed by students, built, and planted on the grounds of the University of Illinois Turf Farm. The CCG will look and feel like a typical allotment-style community garden, but the management of the garden will be focused on undergraduate learning opportunities. To this end, half of the individual garden plots (24 raised beds) will be made available to students for independent gardening activities and experimentation. The other 24 raised bed garden plots will be used for teaching, demonstration, and outreach on urban agriculture, and they will also serve as important examples of successful production methods for student gardeners.

  15. suggestion for community gardens

    Associated Project(s): 

    In 2013, the Student Sustainability Committee received this project suggestion: "Community gardens built on the farmlands at Orchard Downs would benefit direct participants, households, and the community. Main participants in the project would be university students, local residents, and children from an after-school program nearby. The participants would not only benefit from the food produced, but the agricultural knowledge, environmental consciousness, and community interaction associate with working on a community farm.

    The gardens will be designed in a biointensive way, meaning they will be organic agricultural plots that focus on yielding maximal produce on a small plot and maintaining the quality of the soil. The gardens may be implemented in greenhouses, hoop houses, or outdoors depending on the seasonal limitations decided upon in the final designs of the garden.

    Students can register to do volunteer work at the community garden that would be counted toward course credit. Students and their relatives can also request plot to farm on, from which they can use  the produce themselves or sell it to school organizer of the program."

    Housing Services has already established community gardens, which have been in effect since at least the 1990s.