The use of pesticides and herbicides in turf grass maintenance produced concern from students (including a petition signed by thousands of students), and resulted in the WATgreen Task Force on Turf Grass Maintenance (Summer, 1992).
A survey of students, carried out in Fall 1992, revealed that almost 90% of students thought the campus was sprayed much more than it is. 48% of students were against chemical lawn spraying with 47% neutral with only 5% supporting the practice. 66% were concerned about human health effects and 78% were concerned about environmental impacts of chemical lawn spraying. 62% of students would like to see alternate landscapes on campus with 24% being neutral on the subject.
In 1993-94 a student project investigated and answered the following questions: What is the state of the art in turf management? What examples of chemical free landscape management are there for the university to draw upon? What steps can the university follow to reduce the use of chemical on lawns on campus? This project demonstrates through case studies that chemical free turf management is quite feasible and has been successfully implemented elsewhere.
In 1996, a group of students did an analysis of the Austrian Pine on campus. They looked at the poor health of these trees and options for their replacement. Another group looked at the landscaping practises in the Dorney Garden and developed an educational program to enhance the understanding of this area.
Also in 1996, a project looked at the lack of specific guidelines for sustainable development in the University's Master Plan. By identifying key stakeholder issues, and areas in which specific suggestions of alternative landscaping practices may be attempted, this project provides a framework for future groups hoping to create a more comprehensive Master Plan, or a more sustainable campus landscape design.
WATgreen provided the means of combining the knowledge of students, administration, staff and faculty to study the options available to the University for environmentally sustainable management of its landscape.
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Last updated: August 16, 2004 plc