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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 69.60
Liaison Shanna Eller
Submission Date Feb. 27, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of North Carolina, Greensboro
OP-10: Landscape Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.83 / 2.00 Trey McDonald
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures required to calculate the total area of managed grounds::
Area
Total campus area 252.60 Acres
Footprint of the institution's buildings 47.60 Acres
Area of undeveloped land, excluding any protected areas 0 Acres

Area of managed grounds that is::
Area
Managed in accordance with an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Plan 170.60 Acres
Managed in accordance with a sustainable landscape management program that includes an IPM plan and otherwise meets the criteria outlined 0 Acres
Managed organically, third party certified and/or protected 0 Acres

A copy of the IPM plan:
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The IPM plan :

1. The UNCG Grounds Dept. landscapes with plants that are generally known to be disease and insect resistant. Some insect and disease damage can be tolerated if the plants can be kept healthy and vigorous enough so the pests do not seriously harm the plants.
2. UNCG monitors the landscapes to identify any pest problems in order to prevent them from becoming excessive.
3. UNCG begins to take action with less risky pest control options when infestations become large. When the viability of a plant is threatened is targeted spraying of pesticides employed. Should this not work, only then will broadcast spraying be employed. Where pests have become intolerable in the past, systemic insecticides and preventative measures proper cultural practices have been employed.
4. UNCG prefers to rely on natural predators and the above mentioned methods and will take action before damage becomes extensive.


A brief summary of the institution’s approach to sustainable landscape management:

The UNCG Grounds Department strives to create a landscape which is both attractive and thrives off the local environment, with minimal inputs from personnel. By using the “right plant in the right place,” the landscape essentially can take care of itself. Native plants fight off diseases and pests without the use of harsh chemicals or other non-sustainable practices; they also require less water than traditional landscapes and survive with natural rainfall rather than supplemental irrigation. When using supplemental irrigation, it is conducted at times of day that minimize water loss due to evaporation. Further, UNCG utilizes drip irrigation technology, which gets water to the plant roots most effectively. UNCG is also currently in the beginning phase of using a smart irrigation system that incorporates evapotranspiration rates to accurately and efficiently irrigate turf areas.
UNCG also utilizes mulching and bio-retention strategies. There are bio-swales and other bio-retention areas on campus, which naturally filter runoff from buildings through plant roots and the soils. The use of natural mulches in the landscape helps with water loss due to evaporation, reduces competition from weeds, and minimizes erosion. The mulch decomposes over time to benefit the plants by providing the nutrients they need to sustain themselves.


A brief description of how the institution protects and uses existing vegetation, uses native and ecologically appropriate plants, and controls and manages invasive species:

UNCG has a comprehensive tree maintenance program, focusing on proper pruning techniques and removal of any damaged/diseased areas. Trees are the foundation of our campus landscape, not only for beauty but for soil stabilization, water-uptake, and the release of oxygen. During any construction or renovation our Campus Tree Care Plan is strictly followed by employees and contractors. This ensures trees are protected to the best of our ability; should any have to be removed, the Plan ensures that replacement trees will be planted back in the area.


A brief description of the institution’s landscape materials management and waste minimization policies and practices:

The Grounds Sports Turf Maintenance Team composts all grass clippings. Grass clippings are left after mowing the warm season sports fields. All rotary mowers are equipped with mowing blades which pulverize and leave grass clippings behind during the mowing operation, cycling the nutrients back into the soil. During aerification of the sports fields, the resultant plugs are composted and used as top-dressing over the fields. Clippings from the golf greens are added into the pile of aerification plugs and mixed for a top-dressing as well.

During leaf-drop in the fall the same mowers mulch as much leaf litter as possible on turf areas. If the level of leaf drop is so heavy that it may impact over-seeding, the leaves are vacuumed up. Some of the leaf litter is transported to both Piney Lake (a UNCG-owned recreational site approximately 8 miles from the main campus), and the City of Greensboro Arboretum, where it is composted. In 2013-14, approximately 12 tons of leaves were diverted to these two locations from the landfill.


A brief description of the institution’s organic soils management practices:

UNCG Grounds utilizes soil stabilization practices in every aspect of its day-to-day operations. One strategy employed to preserve soils is to keep something growing on them in all seasons. The soils are managed in large part by the organisms that thrive on them.
Although UNCG Grounds considers Nature to be the best manager, when intervention is necessary they use procedures such as erosion blankets and sodding to help keep soils intact when an area is disturbed. Plant beds are amended with natural materials such as cow manure and composted soil from other natural products. This provides the soil with additional beneficial organisms, decreasing the need for synthetic fertilizers.
All of our newer facilities use some kind of ‘Best Management Practice (BMP) for storm water run-off. Through bioretention and natural swales, we filter the runoff through plant and/or turf roots before it enters the city wastewater system or our creeks and streams. These methods help to manage our soils by reducing erosion and providing green space which would otherwise be an impervious surface. Finally, native plants help to increase organic matter in the soil by boosting microbial activity and soil aeration.


A brief description of the institution’s use of environmentally preferable materials in landscaping and grounds management:

UNCG Grounds uses biodegradable mulches, including pine bark and hardwood. These mulches break down over time and are naturally incorporated into the soil. Plant beds are amended with natural materials such as cow manure and composted soil from other natural products. This provides the soil with added beneficial organisms, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers.
Fertilizers that are used on campus contain micronutrients which are vital to plant and soil health. Many fertilizers contain only macronutrients, which plants need in larger quantities; micronutrients are no less important but are needed in smaller amounts. These added beneficial nutrients help plants to naturally fight off environmental stresses such as drought, temperature extremes and insect/disease pressure.

Grounds works extensively to assist the campus community garden. The Garden Club acquired used lumber from an abandoned barn to create its raised beds, and Grounds works with its tree contractors to supply mulch made from downed limbs and trees. This mulch is used to line pathways in the garden.


A brief description of how the institution restores and/or maintains the integrity of the natural hydrology of the campus:

Naturally vegetated buffers are maintained on the banks of campus streams to prevent erosion and filter runoff before it enters the water body; some areas have been enhanced through live staking. UNCG Grounds also utilizes the paths of campus storm water to create dry stream beds consisting of river stones. The stones allow the water to flow to its path of least resistance without soil erosion.
Finally, Grounds is working with Facilities Management and the Sustainability Office to install a rain harvesting system that will reduce campus water consumption for annual plantings. The system will capture and store rainfall for irrigation of annuals. Rainwater is better for the landscape than municipal water because of the natural organisms in rain. This system will also reduce stormwater runoff.


A brief description of how the institution reduces the environmental impacts of snow and ice removal (if applicable):

The Grounds Department uses an ice melt product that contains magnesium chloride. This product is less environmentally problematic than other chloride-based products such as calcium chloride and sodium chloride. Any runoff from this product contributes less chloride contamination in surface waters because it has one-third less chloride content versus other chloride-based options. Further, since magnesium is a common ingredient in most fertilizers it will not harm vegetation. Finally, this product is less harsh on concrete areas such as sidewalks and driveways; concrete where the product is applied shows less scaling and chipping, thus reducing maintenance costs and the affiliated environmental costs.


A brief description of any certified and/or protected areas:

Peabody Park is a 34 acre area at the north end of the UNCG campus. The Park contains forest, grassy areas, and streams, providing habitat for many flora and fauna that characterize the Carolina Piedmont. The Park’s woods provide a glimpse of the native oak-hickory beech-maple forest that once covered this region of the United States. Branches of Buffalo Creek that flow through the Park are part of the headwaters of North Carolina’s Cape Fear river system (http://www.uncg.edu/reg/Catalog/0910/UnivComm/peabody.html).

The importance of championing the remaining natural habitat on campus, i.e., Peabody Park, is noted in the university's Master Plan Update. This plan channels all future development to the south of the existing campus.

In practice, the university has worked to improve the health of Peabody Park over the last several years. Native trees (loblolly pines, oaks and dogwoods) have been planted to reforest an area of Peabody Park, and periodic workdays to remove English ivy, bamboo and other invasive species occur twice per year. One result of these efforts is that Greensboro Beautiful Inc. awarded its '2010 School Award' to the Peabody Park Preservation Committee for the work to preserve Peabody Park woods.


Is the institution recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program (if applicable)?:
Yes

The website URL where information about the institution’s sustainable landscape management programs and practices is available:

Information for this credit was received from Kevin Siler, Grounds Department at UNCG and Rhonda Strader, GIS specialist for UNCG.

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.