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Projects Updates for Burrill/ Morrill Walkway

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  1. Native Planting at Burrill Hall

    The following is an email sent by John Marlin on May 16, 2023:


    As most of you know I am retired from campus and involved in other off campus conservation activities. I will no longer be overseeing the Burrill Hall native planting.


    During the pandemic, maintenance at campus native plantings by volunteers was not allowed.  This coupled with very dry conditions caused deterioration of several sites including the one at Burrill Hall. F&S bought the woodland wildflowers for the planting and the Entomology Department installed them and provided some maintenance in conjunction with some students.


    Department head May Berenbaum has put together an effort to revitalize the planting and has some limited funding for some maintenance of the native plants.  F&S plans to make some changes in part of the area and the path is to be restored.  Daniel Bush will initially work with the native plants and supervise any students. 


    In the past weeds removed from the site were placed by the two square concrete benches and I notified Ryan Welch who had the maintenance crew remove them.  I assume a similar arrangement can be made possibly with Mr. Dalby as the contact.


    This site was quite popular with people walking past and provided a good instructional resource, especially the area near the sidewalk.  I hope that this will continue.


    John C. Marlin


    Dennis Dalby replied:


    Thank you John,


    It was nice meeting you today to gain some of your tips and input regarding the planting and upkeep of this area.  I’ve been working with Ryan Welch and SIB to get this area brought back up to its current level and look forward to its improved upkeep with the discussions that we had today.  We’ll be working with Ryan to have a wood chip path added once again and will add a few small plants of our own within the areas that we (MCB) will maintain.  SIB will maintain the areas of the native plants.  It will look and function much better once all is in place.


    Thanks again for stopping by to share your experience,



  2. archived info - previous project description

    Associated Project(s): 

    This project is meant to transform the walkway between Burrill and Morrill Halls into a sustainable and multifunctional landscape. The walkway formerly had planters with a few, mostly non-native species. The walkway’s impervious concrete also had the problem of collecting rainwater and flooding. This area is high in student pedestrian traffic and is a part of the “Million Dollar Tour” that prospective donors to the University take while visiting campus.

    In order to make the space more aesthetically attractive and sustainable, native shrubs, ferns, and woodland species that will do well in shady conditions were introduced to the walkway. In order to curb the rainwater collection problems of the water, a rain garden has been proposed to be added to the center of the walkway.  The benefits of rain gardens outside of eliminating localized flooding include improving water quality, creating habitats, and recharging groundwater.

  3. Report by Anna Hochlater

    Associated Project(s): 

    "The Burrill/ Morrill Hall corridor offers a unique opportunity to explore methods of sustainable design through conventional practices of rain garden design as well as hardscaping improvements, lighting installations and additional non-plant strategies.  A moderate strategy is advised. In this conversation moderate is understood to mean more than a creating only rain garden while leaving the existing vegetation, but less than a full redesign which would completely reshape the hardscaping.  A moderate strategy addresses the creation of the rain garden, all the landscape beds while leaving the mature canopy trees in place, and makes some alterations to the existing hardscape.  Perhaps the most difficult challenges of the corridor will be to unify the character of the corridor landscape beds and to design a solu-tion suitable for the harsh conditions of very little sun, significant wind, and heavy pedestrian use."

  4. Anna hired to complete this work

    Associated Project(s): 

    Eliana Brown provided the following update.

    • Anna Hochhalter was hired by F&S for the summer to complete a revised design of the Burrill/Morrill walkway rain garden / native plants improvements.  She reviewed the entire walkway from Mathews to Goodwin.  Her report is expected August 15th.
    • The space should be multifunctional, use native plants, accommodate the stormwater run off with green infrastructure.  It could include new lighting and artworks.
    • This project will use the existing SSC funding, as well as other funding sources.  The other funding sources may include Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District, and/or F&S.
    • Eliana will take the project scope change request to SSC this fall, for approval.
    • Matt Edmonson has been involved with this project and will inform Eliana about any additional campus approvals that may be needed.
  5. Burrill and Morrill Rain Garden Spring 2012 Funding Award and Acceptance