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Projects Updates for LAR Native Plants

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  1. Update on LAR East Gardens

    Associated Project(s): 


    “Chuck: You mentioned recently the patio had some weeds that needed to be cleaned up.  I took these photos today.  The areas in the photo are student garden areas.  I did see someone in one of the garden areas southeast of LAR last week.  I am not clear if she was there to work in the garden or perhaps for other research work.

    John: Would you be able to assist (organize some student help perhaps) with weeding in the patio gardens?  Could you also  include the student garden plantings at the main east entry to the building as well as the smaller gardens each side of the drive at Lincoln Ave.?  These are the first areas people will encounter at move in.”

    -Wayne Bugaj (07/27/2021)



    “Hello All,

    Yesterday I did some cleanup along with Sara Mason, a former LAR LLC member who graduated last year.  We pulled weeds by the small beds near the wheelchair ramp and did some trimming in the front beds including the one near Lincoln Ave. Two other former LLC students from 2016 and 17 helped a couple times this summer with some very basic weeding.  The people who started this maintain an interest, but most have let town.  The virus and “student priorities” have kept the regular LLC students from doing anything in the plantings for about 2 seasons.  Hopefully that will change this year.   Basically the plantings are mostly doing well.  They need some weeding and thinning.  A couple spots on the S side of the front steps and SW side of the building have areas where one or two species have taken over.  Some replanting would probably be good there, but is not critical.

    The main goal of providing pollinator resources is definitely being met.

    Chris Murphy told me in the spring that he hoped to get a faculty member to oversee a few students who could get credit for maintaining the plantings. 

     Anyway things look better now.  We took out 2.5  35 gallon cans of weeds.

     I hope this helps”

    -John Marlin (07/29/2021)

  2. Wildflower Display at Lincoln Ave Residence

    Associated Project(s): 

    The following is a message from John Marlin. In this message, Marlin includes information about the wildflower display at Lincoln Avenue Residence (LAR), as well as photographs of the location:



    At the moment and for the next several weeks woodland wildflowers will be blooming at LAR, specifically to the north of the front steps, continuing past the edge of the building, and alongside the north east side of the building.  There are about 20 woodland species in the mix.  This is a fairly good example of the type of plants that could be placed in small beds around campus to help pollinators and provide visual relief.  The spring plants are especially nice to have around as students face the stress of finals and leaving their friends for the summer. I believe you would find a visit worthwhile. I would be glad to join at any convenient time.


    The project was initiated in 2016 by the LAR Living Learning Community.  In addition to the woodland plantings there are prairie and related plantings starting at the south side of the steps and continuing around the south side of the building to the loading dock.  An additional planting is in the courtyard by the dining room.  Various prairie species will bloom in sequence beginning now and through the fall.  These plantings compliment the nearby Red Oak Rain Garden.


    Over 50 students and community members planted the area.  A part-time intern helped maintain it for the first year and a half.  A $5,000 grant paid for the most of the plants and intern.  There has been very limited maintenance due to the virus and lack of funds for the intern.  The main problems are some weeds and aggressive spread of some of the native plants.  Insects and birds use the plantings and several classes have visited.


    There is a growing consensus in favor of locating pollinator pockets and other native planting around campus.  Once in the ground they require minimal maintenance.  A few seasonal student interns with some supervision could manage quite a few.  I hope there can be some action along these lines over the next few years.

    John C. Marlin, PhD

    Research Affiliate, ISTC, PRI



    Photo 1: Volunteers planting at LAR in September 2016

    Photo 2: Up-close photo of LAR flowers in April 2021

    Photo 3: Up-close photo of LAR plants, including flowers, in April 2021

    Photo 4: Photo of LAR plants and flowers underneath a tree in April 2021

    Photo 5: Photo of LAR plants and flowers in April 2021



    Associated Project(s): 
     Largely completed, ongoing main
    Very Well, Student intern keeps plants going, native prairie plants on south side of building, front and courtyard, woodland garden, northeast corner 
    FS mows it every years, little weeding
     suffering from invasion of violets, thought given to aiding those plants
    Coming along well, over 3 years, removed invasive honey suckle, so thick you could not walk though the woods, removing other invasive plants, put out seeds and seedlings to other native plants, used as outdoor lab for variety of classes
  4. Most of the planting complete

    Associated Project(s): 

    This project is ongoing, but all milestones in the SSC grant request have been met. Purchases of additional plants were made in multiple batches, and they have been added to beds on the south, east, and north sides of LAR in addition to the shared courtyard between LAR and Allen Hall. There are a few plants that still need to be planted, but most are in the ground at this time.


  5. Residential Native Plants

    The Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall Living and Learning Community (LLC) is aware of the interest in increasing the number of campus locations with native plants. They would like to join the effort to plant Native Plant Species in selected areas around Campus. The goal of this project is to locate plants in places like the unused space between Allen Hall and Lincoln Ave. Residence. There are several other locations around these residences that are suitable for planting near the buildings and in areas where mowing is difficult because of corners and the placing of equipment like large compressors. By selecting a variety of plants that bloom over the growing season, this project provides habitat and food resources for a wide range of butterflies, bees, and other pollinators as well as birds. This proposal directly funds: 1) One Student Internship 2) Site Preparation Costs 3) Soil Supplies and Plants.

  6. Update from John Marlin to potential volunteers

    Associated Project(s): 


    Most of you have had some direct involvement with the LAR LLC planting that is in progress.  It started last spring and now has a ~$5000 grant from the Student Sustainability Committee. The past two weeks have seen a lot of progress as plants were removed from propagation beds and transplanted to the front and N side of LAR. 

    Here are a few shots with some of you featured.  I will make more available later to individuals.  

    The recent planting contains mostly woodland wildflowers that are currently dormant.   the straws mark the locations so we do not plant over them during the next couple weeks.   Hopefully they will survive the winter since there are other plants that go in early in the spring.

    The LLC has some weeding tools and watering cans in the building that LAR students can access.   We will need to water plants and do some weeding this week.  If you have a break or get done before dark you might be able to do some weeding on the S side of the building.  Gwenna or I may have to show you what to take out. 

    We are likely to have some more planting next weekend.   Probably Saturday (and maybe Sunday) morning around 10.  Sunday afternoon some of us will be with Red Bison at the South Arboretum Woods near the pollinatarium by Lincoln and Windsor.   Any of you are welcome there. 

    Attached are also a couple posters showing the kinds of woodland plants that are going in.

    John C. Marlin


    The files are on the main project page.