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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 81.30
Liaison Sarah Munro
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Connecticut
OP-9: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 2.00 Sarah Munro
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Environmental Policy
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Total campus area (i.e. the total amount of land within the institutional boundary):
3,826 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 400 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 1.25 Acres
Area managed using conventional landscape management practices (which may include some IPM principles or techniques) 0 Acres
Total area of managed grounds 401.25 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):

Farm crop fields, pastures, natural wooded areas, walking trails, all buildings and paved surfaces.


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an IPM program:
99.69

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

The University uses IPM on campus. Through this management program there is no application of insecticides or fungicides. The control measures primarily used include fertilizer and broad leafweed control. The University does not apply herbicides and pesticides preventatively, so instead application is just for infestations that may result in large economic losses if not addressed quickly. In such instances, selective pesticides that have limited effects on non-target species are recommended. This reduces the environmental impact of UConn landscape management.
Additionally, past UConn IPM programs have educated farmers, teachers, and resource managers in the areas related to vegetables, small fruit, tree fruit, greenhouse, turf, nurseries, field crops, vineyards, home grounds, invasive species, and IMP Curriculum in the Classroom which is geared towards students in grades K-8.
The state four-tiered IPM program, run by the Cooperative Extension through UConn, can be found here:
http://ipm.uconn.edu/root/
Other grounds are maintained as turf grass, as farm production/ pasture grounds, or as wildlife habitat with minimal oversight.
Info on UConn Turf grass programs can be found here:
http://www.turf.uconn.edu/


Percentage of grounds managed in accordance with an organic program:
0.31

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:

Spring Valley Student Farm (1 acre)

Spring Valley Student Farm (SVSF) sprouted in spring 2010 from a project planted by Residential Life. Since that time SVSF has blossomed into a year-round community for eleven student farmers living in two UConn houses 4.5 miles off campus. The student farmers learn about sustainable community living, organic food growing methods and the business aspects of how food is harvested, processed and presented to the UConn dining community. As stewards and ambassadors of the farm the student farmers support Spring Valley Student Farm as an educational destination where everyone may come together to learn and grow.

Spring Valley Student Farm exists as a collaborative venture between Dining Services, Residential Life, EcoHouse Learning Community and First Year Programs, the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, Office of Environmental Policy, and the Office of Public Engagement-Service Learning.

Spring Valley Student Farm (SVSF) provides an opportunity for UConn students and the greater community to join together to learn about environmentally, socially and economically ethical regenerative food production through hands-on experience. The Farm allows students to gain practical knowledge and skills through experiential learning while simultaneously modeling a closed loop food model in which organic produce is grown on campus for UConn Dining Services.

EcoGarden Club (0.25 acres)

The EcoGarden Club chooses a sustainable approach to gardening. Nutrient-rich crops are produced by preserving soil integrity with compost, reduced tillage and crop rotation.

Administering water-conservation practices and using non-synthetic soil amendments and pesticides are some of the environmentally friendly gardening strategies that the EcoGarden Club practices.

Our Philosophy
"We choose a sustainable approach to gardening, taking into consideration each branch of our community. Together, we are creating an awareness of local foods, produced with the mindset of low enviormental impact. As individuals, we are cultivating mindfulness through traditional practices. As neighbors, we are creating lasting relationships for today and into tomorrow. Our aim is to create a self-sufficient entity that coexists with nature. By preserving soil integrity with compost, reduced tillage and crop rotation, we harbor nutrient rich crops. Through water conservation and the use of organic soil amendments and pest controls, we hope to heal and protect the environment. Lastly, we provide safe, healthy produce to our local dining halls, emphasizing a short distance from farm to table."


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

The CT State Extension Department, the Connecticut Sea Grant, the University of Connecticut NEMO Program, the Uconn Center for Land-use Education and Research, and Uconn’s College of Agricultre Health and Natural Resources centralize informational resources encouraging use of native plant species, and in identifying/ controlling invasive species for a variety of habitat types. The Storrs campus grounds are a living arboretum that combines native and ornamental species of trees, shrubs, and flowers. Newer construction techniques are favoring the use of native species in swales adapted to the climate, including edible landscape initiatives that utilize fruit plants and herbs. Large portions of the University owned grounds (including ground where visitors frequent) are maintained as wildlife habitat and are only minimally maintained.
http://clear.uconn.edu/tools/habitats/index.htm


A brief description of the institution's approach to hydrology and water use:

The University of Connecticut actively works to maintain natural hydrology on campus through the implementation of Low Impact Design initiatives. As part of UConn’s Sustainable Design Guidelines, the University seeks to incorporate LID projects all over campus including, but not limited to rain gardens, porous pavement, bio-retention swales, permeable asphalt, etc. All of these projects help to infiltrate and treat storm water runoff from the urban campus in order to sustain and preserve natural hydrology. Interactive maps and information on these LID projects can be found here: http://ecohusky.uconn.edu/development/lid.html

The University also provides significant outreach and support for other LID projects. The UConn Nemo Program through the Center for Land Use Education and Research provides instructional materials and outreach on the development and maintenance of rain gardens and bio-retention swales. More information on this outreach can be found here: http://nemo.uconn.edu/raingardens/.

Finally, one of the ways in which the Landscape Master Plan aims to improve ecosystem health is by incorporating sustainable stormwater management in order to maintain the integrity of the natural hydrology of the campus and improve water quality.
http://paes.uconn.edu/MasterPlan/Final/B_LANDSCAPE_WEB.pdf


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

All of the University’s landscape management waste is composted at the UConn compost facility. This includes lawn and branch clippings and leaves.

Information on the compost facility can be found here:
http://ecohusky.uconn.edu/recycling/compost.html


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

UConn's policy requires that all external lighting be full cut-off "Dark Skies" compliant to maximize efficiency and prevent ambient light pollution. Re-lamping of outdoor lighting and student and employee parking lots will be completed by 2020 and will reduce CO2 emissions by 2,105 metric tons. We have installed solar powered outdoor lighting at our popular UConn Dairy Bar.


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):

We use treated salt here, similar to what people call magic salt. It has some calcium chloride in it and molasses.
We switched to drop spreaders on the walks as to not inject the turf with the material to avoid the salt burn. We also pre-treat some of the lawn areas with gypsum to help counteract the effects of the salt.
UCONN Landscape Action Plan Snow Removal Guide:
Patrol area at the start of the snowfall.
Spot de-icing of walks and roadways, along with plowing.
Full scale de-icing of all major walks, along with plowing.
Plowing of all major walks, roads, and parking lots.
Continuous sanding of walkways and driving lanes.


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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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.