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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 70.78
Liaison Margaret Lo
Submission Date Sept. 1, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

George Mason University
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.94 / 2.00 Mary Liang
Sustainability Analyst
Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
896.47 Acres

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds:
Area (double-counting is not allowed)
Area managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program that uses a four-tiered approach 291.87 Acres
Area managed in accordance with an organic land care standard or sustainable landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials 0 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 19.93 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 311.80 Acres

A brief description of any land excluded from the area of managed grounds (e.g. the footprint of buildings and impervious surfaces, experimental agricultural land, areas that are not regularly managed or maintained):

Impervious surfaces are not managed organically and/or in accordance with an IPM program. Approximately 316 acres of naturally forested areas on our campuses are also excluded from this calculation because they are not often disturbed (and therefore minimally maintained) to preserve naturally occurring processes within them.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
93.61

A copy of the IPM plan or program:
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A brief description of the IPM program:

Mason has several vendors that utilize an Integrated Pest Management Plan (IPM) throughout the campuses within its buildings and on its grounds. For Mason’s buildings, the plan includes inspections to identify any infestations; sanitation to clean inside and outside the facilities; mechanical control to repair any structures and equipment; educating individuals to keep pest conditions at a minimum; and modifications to environmental aspects (such as light, temperature and oxygen levels) to reduce pest population growth.

For Mason’s grounds, formal inspections are performed monthly to inspect all groups, determine the severity of any infestation and apply controls at acceptable levels. Whenever possible, biological controls, such as the use of benign horticultural oils, will be used. Additionally, consideration will be given to the presence or absence of natural predators, the appropriate timing of applications, and life-cycle of the pests.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
0

A brief description of the organic land standard or landscape management program that has eliminated the use of inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in favor of ecologically preferable materials:

Mason manages several gardens on campus without the use of inorganic fertilizers, chemical pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides including the Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden, the Innovation Food Forest, and the School of Art garden. However, Mason has not completed the certification process for them.


A brief description of the institution's approach to plant stewardship:

Mason’s Design Manual states that the majority of all new plants will be native or cultivars of native plants. Mason Grounds has limited the use of invasive, exotic plants on campus.

The University created a Reforestation Guidelines document, in 2012, to dictate the required quantities and the correct species that are allowed to be installed for both Fairfax and Prince William campuses. As a result, Mason completed 2 reforestation projects in 2012-2013. Both of these sites include only native trees and shrubs and are currently being maintained to ensure their success. There are at least five other sites across campus that have been identified as potential candidates for reforestation.


A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:
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A brief description of the institution's approach to materials management and waste minimization (e.g. composting and/or mulching on-site waste):

Mason strives to use reduce, reuse, and recycle its waste as must as possible. For example, selective trees or branches that fall onto a roadway or sidewalk are removed, chipped, and returned to the forest to continue their decomposition process. Trees that fall in the forested areas are left in place to provide additional nutrients and habitat for the diversity of plants and animals who reside there. In the fall, Mason Grounds remove leaves from walkways, parking lots, roads, etc and chip and placed into a large leaf compost pile. This pile is used throughout the following spring and summer for nutrient-rich organic mulch for trees and other plants across campus. Lastly, all grass is cut and left in place to enrich the existing grass with usable organic matter.


A brief description of the institution's approach to energy-efficient landscape design:

In 2007 Mason's Board of Visitors pledged to design all new construction and major renovations to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard or its equivalent. Mason has implemented several energy-efficient landscape designs including light-colored roofs, green roofs, open-grid pavement, and positioning buildings to take advantage of passive solar design.


A brief description of other sustainable landscape management practices employed by the institution (e.g. use of environmentally preferable landscaping materials, initiatives to reduce the impacts of ice and snow removal, wildfire prevention):

George Mason University follows the protocol of the Virginia Department of Transportation for the removal of snow and ice for the roads. Mason makes an effort to prudently manage the use of salt, sand, and chemicals to effectively remove the snow and ice, in consideration of limited state financial resources. In addition, for sidewalks, Mason uses magnesium chloride which is less corrosive, less abrasive, and less toxic to plant and animal life and surrounding waterways.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Data is for FY17 and includes land on Fairfax, Science and Tech, and Arlington campuses only.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.