By Eleanor Angel, Chattanooga, TN—The University was recently awarded the 2012 School Grounds Award by the City of Chattanooga Tree Commission.
“The award recognizes the enhancements that UTC has made over the past few years to all of the campus grounds,” sustainability coordinator Lisa Darger said.
Some of the enhancements include the development of a tree care plan, landscaping enhancements and providing more green spaces, she said.
UTC’s Master Plan also includes a landscaping section, and the University was designated a Tree Campus USA in 2011, both of which contributed to the School Grounds Award, Darger said.
The landscaping crew at UTC does many things in order to keep campus clean and neat. Preventative maintenance, native tree planting, pruning, maintaining walkways, managing the tree canopy, erosion control and student safety are all components of what the crew does, she said.
They collect leaves seasonally in order to prevent blockage of the storm water drains.
After leaves are collected, they are taken to be composted in the City of Chattanooga’s compost pile, she said.
In regards to the reconstruction of Cardiac Hill, there were trees removed.
“Even though it looks like, right now, we’ll be taking out trees, it’s very minimal. The ones that can be transplanted, will be transplanted, but we will actually be adding eighty trees to the inventory,” Darger said.
The landscaping crew works for many purposes including aesthetics and student safety.
Darger said the department receives many complaints about the removal of trees form campus grounds.
“Facilities, planning and management and the grounds crew have the best interest of the plant species at heart, always,” she said.
According to the UTC blog, “The UTC Environmental Task Force recently approved funding for a Sustainability Garden Program.”
In this program, students are selected to sustain two 4-foot by 24-foot gardens that will grow a variety of different vegetables.
Maggie Sauser, a Memphis senior, said the gardens were created “to inform the student body about sustainability and growing your own food.”
Maggie was the assistant last year and has now taken over managing the garden. “My favorite part of working with the garden is not only the gardening itself, which is very relaxing, but also learning about sustainability,” Sauser said.
Sauser said that any student is welcome to participate in workshops or gardening days. The next work shop will take place on Oct. 26 at 1:30 pm.
The plot coordinator for the sustainability gardens is Monika Groppe, UTC alumna and program director.
Darger said that the sustainability department is working hard to provide opportunities for students to be directly involved with campus sustainability.
National Campus Sustainability Day is Oct. 24. UTC will be hosting Campus Sustainability Days starting Wednesday, Oct. 24 and continuing through Friday, Oct. 26. There will be many events held including film screenings, pumpkin carvings and Vendor Fairs.
Students will be able to receive class credit for many of the events presented during the sustainability days.
Vendors will include the Chattanooga Zoo, the Chattanooga Aquarium, Rock Creek Outfitters, Volkswagen and bike shops.
“The Chestnut tree project, arboretum project and sustainability garden will all have displays at the campus sustainability days,” Darger said.
Darger encouraged students to attend the Campus Sustainability days in order to get involved and be active when it comes to the sustainability of campus.