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Projects Updates for Sustainable Landscapes Plan

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  1. University Landholdings in CU/new construction in next 2 years

    I'm doing some work with the USFWS on an urban pollinator habitat project and have a couple questions I'm hoping F&S can help me with (or send me in the right direction.)

    1. Do we have an accurate map or GIS layer of current UIUC landholdings (including properties connected to the south farms, etc). I've been able to locate some very low-quality, generalized maps but nothing that is either current or very detailed.
    2. Is there a way for me to find out where on campus there will be construction/renovation projects that will occur in the next 2-3 years?





    Beth, are you able to assist with item 1 in the below email from Brodie regarding obtaining a map or GIS file of UIUC properties?


    Morgan, are you able to assist with item 2 in the below email from Brodie regarding upcoming capital projects?



    James Scherer


    Helo Brodie,


    I’m connecting you with the University Landscape Architect, Brent Lewis.  He can assist with your inquiry about upcoming construction projects, and it is important to include him in any plans you want to pursue regarding additional plantings on university land.






    Morgan and Brent,


    Rest assured I haven't made any promises regarding plantings on campus (and would reach out to you both before doing so.) 


    The primary program partner is the City of Champaign, which I am currently in discussions with. If the project does go through, it'll target underserved neighborhoods with pollinator conservation measures meant to protect/conserve the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee, an endangered species. It is a great opportunity and beside doing the coordination for the project with municipal partners, i'm doing my best to ensure we've got the option to physically participate in the program even if the lands we might have available are outside the model's ideal range.


    Brent - If we have any construction projects happening in the next two years that include major changes in landscaping, especially on the north side of campus, it would be good to hear about those. Participating in the program might end up being as simple as swapping out a few species on the planting list and doing so might give us the opportunity to be a part of a very innovative Endangered Species recovery plan.





  2. IACT - Geotech Drilling

    Associated Project(s): 

    Kevin, Erwin,


    Our drillers are looking to get on site next week for the Geotech borings – on the areas to the south of the Project it looks like the area is actively farmed, is there any type of notification we need to do to the University before we enter the fields or other coordination needed with whomever is farming this area?





    Hi Mike. Let me find out and I’ll get back to you in the next hour or so.



    Hi Mike

    Sorry it took much longer than I had anticipated, but all is clear to get the drilling crew out here. The Village (Jake McCoy) gave their OK, and last night I found the farmer and he says that he will harvest the corn during this weekend. No one else from the university needs to be notified (Kevin, correct me if I´m wrong). If the drilling crew need any assistance on site, they can contact me at 217 766 9837. It would be good if you could provide me with contact information for who is leading the crew, just in case. Thanks



    Here are some aerial pictures of the site taken about ten days ago. I thought they may be helpful.



    Hello Morgan and Jon,


    Can you think of anyone else at UIUC who should be notified of the upcoming commencement of soil boring and sampling work on the IACT site?





  3. Free Native Plants!

    Associated Project(s): 

    Hi all –


    I hope everyone is doing well!  


    I’m reaching out with an opportunity (not related to waste reduction 😊).


    The National Wildlife Federation, alongside our new partner, Garden for Wildlife Inc., have launched an initiative to support our partners (k-12 schools, colleges/universities, churches, etc.) in their efforts to expand quality native habitats for people, pollinators, and wildlifeGarden for Wildlife Inc., sells “direct-to-consumer” native plants to 38 states in the eastern and central United States (western states are coming soon!)


    Your campus can now apply for free native plants for your native plant and habitat projects . These plants will come pre-selected, be native to your area, and include at least one species of milkweed, an essential plant for supporting pollinators and monarch butterflies. These plants are slightly smaller than quart size, with at least 3 inches of new growth. They will begin to bloom within a couple of months of planting, depending on the season. 


    In order to request plants, you must meet the following requirements: 


    • Plant in the approved space within 3 days of receipt (i.e. – a school, community green space, park, etc.). 
    • Maintain the wildlife garden for at least 5 years and share and donate photos of the space or planting. 
    • Display provided signage noting that the plants were donated by Garden for Wildlife by the National Wildlife Federation. 
    • Cover the costs of plant delivery - $38 / 64 plants (i.e. – 192 plants = $114, 768 plants = $456, etc.) 


    To apply, please visit: 


    Please reach out with any questions. This is first come first serve, so if you are interested, please don’t hesitate to fill out the online form! 


    Thanks, take care,


  4. Terry Guen, TGDA, presentation at TBH

    Terry Guen’s practice has brought ecology back to communities through high-profile technical projects in landscape and urban design. TGDA is a nationally recognized designer of urban public spaces and ecological landscapes. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, TGDA designed landscapes for Ikenberry Commons and the recently completed Siebel Center for Design.

    March 3, 5:30–6:45 pm • 134 Temple Buell Hall (Plym Auditorium), 611 E. Lorado Taft Drive, Champaign, IL.

    Conor O'Shea • Department of Landscape Architecture

    baseline_wifi_black_18dp.png This opportunity is available online.

    Stanley H. White Lecture: Terry Guen, Principal and Founder, TGDA

  5. Illinois Monarch Project- SIGN THE PLEDGE!

    Associated Project(s): 

    The Illinois Monarch project is an organization that collaborates with both public and private partners, interacting on all levels for the protection and the enhancement of habitats that support monarch butterflies and other pollinators. This project calls for the involvement from individuals to whole cities, with the goal of adding 150 million new milkweed stems to Illinois’ landscape by 2038!

    As an individual, I call onto you to also sign this pledge and get involved to support our state’s insect!

    See here for a link to the pledge:


    In addition to signing the pledge, I encourage you to also take the time to look deeper into all the great work this organization has done and plans to do:



    F&S representatives shared detailed designs for the pollinator supportive landscape buffer along the future Solar Farm 2.0 site to the Village of Savoy. Village leaders were pleased with the design plans and thanked us for being responsive to their neighborly request. When completed, this site will serve as a demonstration for pollinator-friendly solar arrays, following the requirements of the Pollinator Friendly Solar Site Act (Illinois Pub. Act 100-1022). Solar Farm 2.0 will produce approximately 20,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) annually, and will generate the equivalent electricity use of more than 2,000 average American homes.

  7. Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm

    Associated Project(s): 

    Mr. Apfelbaum will tell us about his life-long project to restore his land on the border of Wisconsin, taking it back to its original state, before the changes brought about by farming, described in detail in his book Nature’s Second Chance. Having carried out ecological restorations world-wide, he is presently working in Urbana, restoring the Stone Creek golf course to its natural state. 

    March 12, 6:30 PM • Stone Creek Golf Club (Formerly known as Attie's), 2560 Stonecreek Blvd Urbana, IL

    Amanda Christenson • Cooperative Extension Service

    Restoring the Ecology of Stone Prairie Farm

  8. Resilient Landscape Strategy approved by CCRC

    Associated Project(s): 

    In 2019 F&S Executive Director Mohamed Attalla charged a Resilient Grounds Strategy Advisory Committee, to develop a Resilient Landscape Strategy for this campus.  In December of that year, the Chancellor's Capital Review Committee (CCRC) approved the attached file, as the strategy for this campus moving toward a fully sustainable campus landscape. This effort is also reflective of a Senate Resolution from November 2018 (RS.19.03 Resolution for Campus Ssutainable Landscapes) and the Illinois Climate Action Plan (iCAP).

  9. ALUFS iCAP efforts in progress

    Hello ALUFS SWATeam members,

    Thank you again for your willingness to help our campus achieve the Climate Leadership Commitments.  There is great value provided by the bi-weekly meetings of student, faculty, and staff representatives evaluating our progress and recommending additional actions campus units could take.

    The following is a list of current activities I am aware of, and suggestions I have about useful next steps.  I am happy to follow up with you on any of these, as needed.

    Thank you very much,





    1.      Ag Emissions – During the 2015 iCAP process, we included the goal to reevaluate the emissions from ACES and create a new emissions baseline for south farms.  This effort was not started, but there is still an opportunity to do such an evaluation.  I believe Madhu Khanna and Evan DeLucia would be good resources for this evaluation, and perhaps Ximing could help facilitate it.

    2.      Best Management Practices (BMPs) - The previous SWATeam considered dropping the Ag Emissions evaluation objective and adding one to encourage use of Best Management Practices for south farms.  The BMPs are an important aspect for increasing campus sustainability, and the concept should be extended to include land that is leased out to other farmers within the campus boundaries (if any). 

    3.      Sustainable Plantings – Brent has made progress on the campus plant lists.  It would be helpful to have a map of existing native planting areas on campus, in GIS format.  We can provide the map of low mow zones as a starting point.

    4.      Once there is a map, additional locations can be suggested for pollinator pockets, to support monarch butterflies and other pollinators.  Such locations can also include spaces that would reduce difficulty for the Grounds crew in riding mowers, such as nooks and crannies on campus, as well as steep slope areas.

    5.      I suggest you invite Eliana Brown to give an overview of the efforts underway for the Red Oak Rain Garden.

    6.      The Campus Master Plan is in final review and will be moving toward Board of Trustee approval.  The website is at, but I’m not sure if they will have another review draft for the public.

    7.      Local Food – great work in Dining!  I’m curious what the current percentage is from FY17.

    8.      We need to look at what we are doing for other campus food areas, such as coffee shops and small cafes.  Your team could submit a recommendation about local food for dining in one or more of the non-housing areas.

    9.      Soil sequestration – Other than prairies and trees, are there sequestration efforts campus should consider? 

    10.  To reduce nitrate in Ag. Runoff, I suggest your team look at applicable recommendations in Nitrate Reduction Plan, and suggest the most promising ones for campus to implement. 

    11.  At one point, we considered woody bioreactors in South Farms – see  These are still an option, I just didn’t have time to move it forward in 2014.

    12.  The Now Mow Zones were renamed Low Mow Zones, and there will be a press release and F&S website update to reflect the locations and benefits.

    13.  Brent Lewis can share an update about the use of more electric equipment for Grounds operations.

    14.  An updated Tree Inventory has been funded.  Brent is working on getting two quotes, so that the purchase order can proceed and the efforts can be started.

  10. Water & ALUFS Joint Meeting Minutes 4/27/17

    Water & Stormwater SWATeam and the Agriculture, Land Use, Food & Sequestration (ALUFS) SWATeam had a joint meeting to discuss shared objectives and project ideas. 

  11. Low Mow Zones signage inquiry to SWATeam

    F&S Director of Sustainability, Morgan Johnston, asked the ALUFS SWATeam for their input regarding the forthcoming "Low Mow Zone" sign updates.  She said, "I would like to talk with you about the “No Mow Zones” on campus and our efforts to better name them as “Low Mow Zones.”  Brent and Ryan Welch are working on updating the locations in a map form and our F&S communicators (primarily Steve Breitwieser) are developing a message about the updated words and locations. 

    As part of this effort, we are also going to be updating the signs, and I am hoping to get your help with taking a look at the specific sign locations (once we have the updated map).  We need a volunteer to visit each Low Mow Zone and note the

    • How many signs do we have in the existing locations?
    • Do any of them need to be moved for better visibility?
    • Do any of them need to have taller sign posts?
    • Where should signs be placed in the new zones?"

    The SWATeam chair, Brent Lewis, indicated she would be included in the first spring semester meeting.

  12. Soil Sample Funding Agreement

    There is a growing interest in doing several native plantings at specific buildings and undeveloped areas around campus. However, there is no real information on the soil at these locations. This project is looking to provide the data needed to successfully and efficiently manage these planting projects. Several students will take soil core samples from each site and provide the samples to a commercial lab. The data will all be analyzed in comparable manner by the same lab. The project team will take 170 samples/subsamples with an 8” soil probe from these sites. The project team, Facilities and Services, and interested faculty and students will select these sites. The goal is to have an initial database of certain buildings and sites with usable soil sampling data: pH, fertility, and basic grain size. The analysis of the samples can be complete within two months of sampling.

  13. Request for Paxton grant funds

    Attached and embedded below is a request to utilize the remaining funds in the Paxton grant for campus sustainable landscapes which is now under the purview of ISEE.  The persons on the CC are all familiar with some of the work in this area done over the past few years and can likely speak to the wisdom of using the funds to supplement the ongoing efforts. 


    TO: Dr. Evan DeLucia and Dr. Ben McCall

    From:  John C. Marlin

    RE:  Use of “Support for Sustainable Landscapes” funds

    Date:  March 21, 2016



    Several efforts are underway on the University of Illinois campus to promote the use and reestablishment of native plant species.  The intent is to integrate native plants into the main campus landscaping and establish larger more diverse plantings in areas farther from the main campus in conjunction with the removal of invasive plants such as bush honeysuckle.  The plantings will be especially valuable to insect pollinators and birds and will provide significant educational opportunities.  To date much of the funding has come from the Student Sustainability Committee.  


    Work at the moment is concentrated on the 2.3 acre prairie at Florida and Orchard in Urbana, the wooded area at the southern end of the Arboretum known as SAW (South Arboretum Woods) including the Pollinatarium, and the Forestry Plantation along Race Street.  Other active sites include Burrill Hall, the Natural Resources Building, and the Florida Orchard Prairie.  Another small project is about to begin at Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall, which will be largely supported by LAR funds and student volunteers.


    In addition to the SSC, several campus and community groups have made substantial contributions to the effort primarily through volunteer labor.  The Master Naturalists and Grand Prairie Friends have provided hundreds of volunteer hours as have local citizens who attend work days.  Individual students, faculty, and staff as well as Red Bison, Students for Environmental Concerns, and other student service organizations put in additional hours. 


    NRES purchased a $30,000 chipper and hired a contractor to remove honeysuckle with a forestry mower at the forestry plantation.  The machine was also used on a limited basis at the Arboretum.  Additional staff and in kind support was provided by the Arboretum, Pollinatarium, Prairie Research Institute, and Illinois Natural History Survey. 


    Recent SSC funding received by the Arboretum makes it possible for the forestry mower to return and remove large stands of honeysuckle.   Workers will then remove by hand the honeysuckle too close to trees for the machine to cut.  The area will then be replanted with native understory species as the invasive plants are brought under control.  This will take several years.  Various research projects focused on native plantings and their usefulness to other species are also envisioned. 


    Considerable additional funding beyond that provided by SSC is required to complete this effort.   It is anticipated that the Arboretum and others will seek grants for future work and research.  It is, therefore, requested that the remaining funds in the $10,000 donation “Support for Sustainable Landscapes” Dr. Jack Paxton made several years ago be made available to further this work.   The funds would be used to supplement and match SSC and other funding.   Specifically the funds would be available for the following purposes as needed: supplies and equipment, removal of invasive plants by contractors or hourly workers in campus areas, and purchase and planting of native plant material at appropriate campus locations. 


    Dr. John C. Marlin, a research affiliate at ISTC and INHS and Adjunct Professor in NRES, has lead much of this effort since 2011 as a volunteer.  He continues to coordinate considerable activity by students, staff and community volunteers on these projects.  He is also available to coordinate the proposed project.


    Primary collaborators include Dr. Marlin; Arboretum Director, Dr. Kevin McSweeney; and Jay Hayek the Extension Forester within NRES. 


    This use of the Paxton grant is supported by Dr. Paxton (who has contributed numerous volunteer hours) and campus Facilities and Services.   If a committee is needed to consider this matter, the SWAT team that deals with land and agriculture could probably be involved. 


    If there are any questions or a need for discussion, please contact Dr. Marlin at 217-649-4591



    Dr. Jack Paxton

    Brent Lewis

    Morgan Johnston

    Jay Hayek

    Dr. Kevin McSweeney

    Micah Kenfield


    John C. Marlin PhD.

    Research Affiliate

    Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and

    Adjunct Professor

    Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

    University of Illinois

    One Hazelwood Dr.

    Champaign, IL 61820




  14. No-Mow Signage

    Associated Project(s): 

    The University campus has designated several different areas as No-Mow Zones. There is signage at these locations that explains that the area is a no-mow zone and the benefits of no-mow zones.